Meet GT Medical: Arizona-based medical device company
As a region, we’re on a relentless pursuit of innovation and technology, and companies here are committed to changing the game. It’s all about people, place and tech in Greater Phoenix. Learn more about GT Medical Technologies’ story from their President and CEO Matthew Likens.
What is your company mission?
Matthew Likens: To improve the lives of patients with brain tumors by overcoming the limitations of current treatments.
What city in Arizona is your company located in?
How did you come up with the idea for your company?
Likens: GT Medical Technologies, Inc. (GT Medical) was never designed to be a company. The concept of GammaTile® Therapy was created out of desperation in 2011 by our five founders who were all brain tumor specialists working at the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) in Phoenix.
There were too many times when patients who previously had brain tumors resected would return to the clinic with recurrent tumors. Many of those patients were candidates to have another surgery to extend life, but surgery alone is rarely enough to control tumor progression. Damage inflicted by their previous external beam radiation disqualified them from additional radiation treatment, and thus repeat surgery. Our founders thought that applying the radiation from the inside could possibly provide these patients with another chance, extending their lives. With a goal to get GammaTile Therapy FDA-cleared, the founders decided to create GT Medical in October of 2017.
Explain why you chose Greater Phoenix to grow your company:
Likens: This technology was invented and developed in Phoenix, and the founders chose me as the president and CEO, it made all the sense in the world to stay here. After nine previous relocations, my wife and I moved to Mesa in mid-2006 and absolutely love life in Arizona. Having previously grown Ulthera, Inc. from a startup to facilitating the successful sale of the company with 230 employees, I was confident the talent was available locally to allow GT Medical to achieve its growth goals.
Why is Greater Phoenix a great place to develop, implement and scale this technology?
Likens: There is tremendous local support for innovative startup companies. The AZBio organization led by Joan Koerber-Walker provides companies operating in the life sciences ongoing industry intelligence and guidance.
GT Medical was fortunate to receive a $250K grant for innovation from the Arizona Commerce Authority several years ago, and we also received a $35K grant from the Flinn Foundation. Our company was first located in LaunchPoint, a technology accelerator located in downtown Mesa, which was an excellent facility at an attractive price. We have also received equity investments in our seed round, A round and now B rounds of financing from the Phoenix-based angel investor group, Arizona Technology Investors.
Phoenix is a major market for the company from a commercial standpoint. There are five medical centers in the state that perform brain tumor surgeries, and we are fortunate to have GammaTile Therapy approved in four of them.
What makes your product/technology unique and different?
Likens: GammaTile Therapy is extremely unique in that it is a Surgically Targeted Radiation Therapy (STaRT) that delivers radiation therapy right when and where it is needed while limiting side effects. Unlike traditional radiation, GammaTile is placed directly at the site of the tumor during brain tumor removal surgery. The device is designed to protect healthy tissue and eliminates both hair loss and repeated radiation treatments.
There’s currently no other device on the market that’s able to achieve what GammaTile has for its patients. It’s the first brain tumor device of its kind, and its innovation is well-respected in the oncology community. GammaTile gives patients new hope in the fight against brain tumors.
In your opinion, why should someone work in tech in Greater Phoenix?
Likens: Having been in the healthcare/life sciences industry for virtually my entire career, it’s quite gratifying to be involved in technologies that truly improve patients’ lives. Population demographics ensure ongoing demand for technologies that bring value to patients.
Are you currently hiring? If so, what types of positions do you need filled now? What about in the future?
Likens: We’re not hiring at this moment, but as we move into 2021, we envision the need for engineers with expertise in material science, an accountant, and customer operations and customer service personnel.
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