Pave Preps First-of-its-Kind Lung Biopsy Device

Posted: Updated:
Pave says its full core biopsy device gives clinicians a smaller needle than ever before to collect lung biopsies. Pave says its full core biopsy device gives clinicians a smaller needle than ever before to collect lung biopsies.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, and doctors are clamoring for a better way to diagnose it. A Zionsville-based startup is creating a lung biopsy device that it says gives clinicians something they’ve never had before: a smaller needle and a safer tissue-collection process that produces a clearer diagnosis for the patient. Pave LLC leaders say it meets a critical need as personalized medicine transforms cancer treatment, because the advances demand a better biopsy.

“If you’re a patient, one of the things you really don’t want to hear is, ‘You went through this biopsy, you went through all this pain, and the tissue we received from this biopsy was non-diagnostic,’” says Pave President Doug Knoll. “In other words, you’re going to have to do this biopsy again.”

Pave believes it can reduce this scenario by giving doctors a better biopsy tool that collects more tissue in a single procedure. A lung biopsy involves removing samples of lung tissue with a special needle to determine if cancer or lung disease are present. Pave Chief Executive Officer Debb Beck says lung biopsies are especially difficult, because they carry unique challenges.

“Anytime you’re poking a hole in the lung, you have increased risk to the patient,” says Beck.

“Pneumothorax (collapsed lung) can occur, when air gets in between the lung and chest wall,” says Knoll. “It’s a very serious condition that can be dangerous, painful and may require medical intervention. The smaller the needle, the less risk of something like that happening.”

And that’s why Pave is aiming to give clinicians a smaller needle than ever before to collect lung biopsies: 20 gauge. But the full core biopsy device has another critical feature that Pave says differentiates it from conventional ones: a cone.

“Envision a tube…the furthest part of the tube has a very thin, sharp edge, and the cone extends into the interior of the tube until it hits the inner diameter,” says Knoll. “When that’s fired forward into tissue, the tissue is then compressed into the cannula (thin tube) and retained when removing the device.”

Pave says the innovative cone design enables the device to collect a larger amount of tissue, which opens the door to pinpointing personalized cancer treatments based on the genetics of the individual’s disease. A 2015 personalized cancer medicine trial led by the National Cancer Institute revealed that one in five samples—obtained using standard biopsy methods—didn’t have enough cancerous cells to analyze, and therefore, the patients couldn’t be matched with personalized treatments.

Pave leaders believe the device solves a major market need for lung biopsies: the collection of a large sample in a smaller-than-ever package size.

“The more tissue that you can get from a patient, the more biomarkers that are available within it; you’re able to do more testing on it and target your treatment plan accordingly,” says Knoll. “So, the ideal would be to have a needle that has the maximum amount of tissue collection capability for its size.”

Beck says Pave has also simplified the design of the full core biopsy device, describing it as lightweight and balanced. These factors are important during a CT scan when the doctor needs to walk away and leave the device in place to check the placement before firing. 

Pave got its start in 2015 as a spinoff from Promex Technologies, where three of the startup’s five founders held leadership positions; Texas-based Argon Medical Devices acquired Promex. Pave is currently testing prototypes, refining the device and working with Indianapolis-based venture development organization Elevate Ventures to prepare for fundraising.

“Making a device for full core biopsy is technically challenging to begin with,” says Beck, “and to make it in an even smaller size is even more challenging.”

 “We have a solution that allows the device to be simple to manufacture, cheap to manufacture and allows it to be extremely effective for the job; that’s our biggest strength,” says Knoll. “We’re pushing hard, because this is a wide-open opportunity.”          

Knoll says Pave’s device collects the larger samples pathologists need, while maintaining a small profile.
Beck says the device has characteristics that make it ideal for lung biopsies and other respiratory diseases that require biopsy.
  • Perspectives

    • World Refugee Day Shines Light on Untapped Pool of Talented Workers

      From Fortune 500 companies to local small businesses, a similar theme rings true. In this strong economy where unemployment is low and growth is high, companies are competing for top talent. In Indianapolis - according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics - unemployment is just 2.8 percent, and investment and job growth are on the rise. This is great news for Indianapolis-area residents looking for work or opportunities to advance their careers, but for businesses and...


Company Name:
Confirm Email:
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections


  • Most Popular Stories

    • Lilly Exec Named BioCrossroads CEO

      After a national search, BioCrossroads has announced Patty Martin will become the life science initiative's next president and chief executive officer. Martin, who most recently served as chief operating officer for Lilly Diabetes, will begin her new role Monday. She will become just the third CEO in the organization's 17-year history, and succeeds David Johnson, who in December announced plans to step down from the role to serve as president and CEO of the...

    • (file photo courtesy of Radial)

      Radial Opens Fulfillment Center in Brownsburg

      Pennsylvania-based Radial Inc. says its new fulfillment center in Brownsburg is now open. The e-commerce technology and operations company says the nearly 700,000-square-foot facility is the largest in its network and will have the capacity to house about 2,000 employees.

    • Holcomb will chair the 2019 conference, set for November 7 in Indianapolis.

      Janet Holcomb to Chair Conference For Women

      Indiana First Lady Janet Holcomb will serve as chair for this year's Indiana Conference for Women. Nearly 2,000 people are expected to attend the ninth annual conference, in Indianapolis in November. Holcomb's career includes a stint as vice president of her family's bolt and fastener manufacturing business, R&R Engineering. She has also led fundraising efforts for political campaigns as well as nonprofit organizations focusing in areas including animal welfare, arts and...

    • (rendering courtesy of Jones Development Co.)

      New Business Park Planned for Whiteland

      Missouri-based Jones Development Co. has begun construction on a new business park in Johnson County. The 2.4 million-square-foot Whiteland Exchange will be located on 167 acres near I-65 in Whiteland.  Financial terms of the developer's investment in the project were not disclosed. The business park is slated to include modern industrial buildings for logistics, advanced manufacturing and related uses. Work is underway on the first two speculative buildings, which total nearly...

    • Franciscan Health Details Data Breach

      Mishawaka-based Franciscan Health is providing details of a data breach. The health system says an internal investigation found one of its employees accessed the protected health information of about 2,200 patients "without a business reason."  Franciscan says the vast majority of the affected medical records was limited to demographic information such as name, address, email address, date of birth, phone number, gender, race/ethnicity, the last four digits of...