Interview conducted by April Cashin-Garbutt, BA Hons (Cantab)
When should you seek help with weight loss?
This is a personal decision that differs from patient to patient. However, I think most people will seek help after attempting to lose weight on their own and having limited or no success.
I believe they will be interested in pursuing products like the intragastric balloon when they begin to get frustrated with diet and exercise programs
Please can you give a brief overview of the different types of surgical weight loss procedures?
Surgical procedures vary in effectiveness and invasiveness and all come with their own set of complications and lifestyle adjustments.
They range from gastric banding that puts a silicone sleeve around the top of the stomach to restrict food intake to sleeve gastrectomies in which a large part of the stomach is surgically removed to bypass surgery where your digestive tract is altered to bypass most of your stomach and a part of your small intestine.
These are permanent procedures that are generally chosen by heavier patients whose health is compromised by their size
Who is eligible for weight loss surgery?
It depends on the individual insurance companies but it is generally performed on patients who have a BMI (body mass index) of 35 to 45 or more.
Why is there a need for a non-surgical weight loss device?
Only a very few percent of patients that qualify for weight loss surgery actually choose to have it. It is a last resort and most patients do not see themselves as ready to give up.
On the other hand, diet and exercise rarely work well and patients are looking for some extra help in their quest to lower their weight. A reversible, non-surgical approach has a lot of appeal to these patients.
Please can you give an introduction to ReShape Medical’s non-surgical weight loss device?
The ReShape Duo® Intragastric Balloon is inserted into the stomach via an endoscopic procedure. The patient is able to go home within a few hours following the procedure and resume their normal life in a few days.
The balloon takes up space in the stomach causing the patient to feel full and satisfied after consuming a small meal. Over the six month period that the balloon remains in the stomach, the patient is trained to associate eating small portions with successful weight loss.
After the balloon is removed, the patient continues to use this new small portion behavior to retain their weight loss and even to continue to lose.
At what stage of development is the device currently?
The product is available in the European Union and is in a final pivotal clinical trial in the US. We anticipate that it will be available in the US in 2015
Why do you think there has been a large amount of patient interest in a non-surgical approach to weight loss?
Patients want to remain in control over their bodies but they need assistance to successfully lose weight for the long term. They know diet and exercise alone don’t work very well and they don’t want surgery. A non-surgical device that is removed after they lose weight has natural appeal.
How safe is the ReShape Duo® Intragastric Balloon in comparison to weight loss surgery?
In commercial use to date, the ReShape Duo procedure has a risk profile similar to a diagnostic endoscopy. Since it is temporary and completely reversible there are no anticipated long term complications.
In which countries is the ReShape Duo® Intragastric Balloon currently available?
The ReShape Duo® Intragastric Balloon is currently available in the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy.
How do you think the weight loss device market will develop?
We believe that there is a lot of pent up demand for a non-surgical product. ReShape is in the lead in bringing our product to the U.S. market but we are still developing our commercialization plans. We have no doubt that, when it is widely available, there will be considerable interest from both physicians and patients.
What are ReShape Medical’s plans for the future?
Our focus right now is to successfully conclude our clinical trial in the US and to expand our availability in the European Union. We are beginning to staff up for the release in the US as well.
Where can readers find more information?
Readers are invited to review our website at www.reshapemedical.com.
About Richard Thompson
Mr. Thompson has spent over 35 years in the medical device industry. Prior to joining ReShape Medical, he served as the Founder, President and CEO of Luminous Medical Inc, an innovative in-line glucose monitoring company based in Carlsbad, California.
Prior to Luminous Medical, Mr. Thompson spent over ten years building Aradigm Corporation, a drug delivery company. He joined Aradigm in 1994 as President, CEO and Chairman of the Board after thirteen years at LifeScan, A Johnson & Johnson Company.
Mr. Thompson co-founded LifeScan as a venture backed start-up in 1981. After the acquisition by Johnson & Johnson, he became President of LifeScan in 1991 while building the company to worldwide leadership in its field.
Mr. Thompson is currently a member of the board at Intuity Medical Inc. and Asante Solutions Inc.
Mr. Thompson holds a BS in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine and an MBA from California Lutheran University.