A physician who had only used Ovation twice over the course of 2017 and 2018 has treated five patients with the device in just the past 60 days. Here's how Endologix convinced him to give the device a second chance.
It's been a turbulent couple of years for Endologix, but as MD+DI reported in February, the company has been working hard to win back customers.
During the company's first-quarter earnings call, CEO John Onopchenko shared a story about a physician at an academic medical center in the Western United States (he did not disclose the name of the physician or the center) who had used Ovation only twice over the course of 2017 and 2018.
Irvine, CA-based Endologix acquired the Ovation platform through its merger with TriVascular in February 2016. It's a low-profile device that has broadened the company's portfolio in terms of patients that can be treated. In June 2017, Endologix reported positive 30-day results from a study evaluating EVAR in women using the Ovation system.
"His reasons for not using it more frequently were that there were limited data available and he believed it to be a technically challenging product to deploy," Onopchenko said. "And frankly, he chose as those initial cases, really a challenging reverse-tapered-neck presentation."
Late last year, Endologix initiated multiple conversations with this doctor to explain the "why" behind the design of Ovation, along with new evidence in the form of five-year ENCORE data, and those conversations intrigued the doctor enough to spend a day visiting the company's Santa Rosa, CA facility in late January to meet with Onopchenko and other company reps.
"He gained a better understanding of the evidence, and he also saw the manufacturing process where Ovation is created first hand," Onopchenko said. "And I’ve got to tell you – I’ve now witnessed this several times – when physicians see how the device is created, it is quite a remarkable experience. Additionally, while we were in Santa Rosa, he completed a successful simulated Ovation device deployment, which is a huge step in uncovering why he initially believed it was technically challenging."
Onopchenko said being able to purposefully explain to physicians "the why" behind each step in the process of deploying the endograft goes a long way toward changing how the Ovation device is perceived.
"It demystifies and it greatly reduces the initial reaction that our competitors' fuel about it being a technically challenging procedure," Onopchenko said.
The visit also allowed that particular physician an opportunity to better identify appropriate Ovation patient selection. The doctor has now treated five patients with Ovation in just the last 60 days, Onopchenko said, and he is now an active site for the company's EVAS2 trial.
Here are the reasons the physician gave Endologix for why he has begun to integrate Ovation into his practice since the facility visit.
1. The Ability to Treat More Patients on IFU
Onopchenko said the doctor is able to treat more patients in accordance with the product label's instructions for use, thanks to the low profile and tractability of the device.
2. Better Understanding of the Science Behind the Sealing
"He says that 'it just made logical sense'. We believe it’s currently the only device that does not cause aortic neck dilatation, based on the five-year data and the subsequent rates for reintervention, Type I and no neck expansion," Onopchenko said.
3. Appreciation for Endologix in the EVAR Space
"He told us that he truly appreciates why we’re the only company that is actively trying to improve the technology in the infrarenal EVAR category," Onopchenko said. "As an academic in an academic medical center, obviously, teaching and evaluating and investigating is central to the mission. We’re the only company that’s doing the kind of market research and indication expansion."
So the story serves as an example of how data, education (including simulated deployments), and a positive early-use experience encouraged one physician to expand the use of Ovation fairly quickly, once the benefits of the device became clear to him.