The startup Ancerix has licensed the intellectual property for tools developed under the leadership of UArizona orthopedic surgeon Daniel Latt, MD, PhD. The inventions address three longstanding challenges in orthopedic surgery:
- Screw heads that are inaccessible due to bone overgrowth
- Screws that spin freely and have lost purchase due to infection or poor bone quality
- Pieces of a broken rod that are irretrievable because they lack attachment points
Latt described the work as driven by real-world challenges in the operating room:
These tools, stemming from our rigorous research at the University of Arizona, aim to offer practical solutions to specific issues we frequently encounter. It's about refining our approaches and ensuring we have the right tools at our disposal. Ancerix's toolkit, built upon our patented inventions, represents this very ethos.
A team of undergraduate students led the initial design and testing of the tools as an engineering design capstone project. On the business side, Latt's collaborators in the startup include veteran medical device designer Dr. Ramses Galáz and business development expert John Buttery.