Eliminating pneumothorax during lung biopsy

Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS)

Lung biopsy is the definitive method of lung cancer diagnosis, but it leads one-in-three patients to suffer from a collapsed lung or pneumothorax, which causes significant pain, distress and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, it is life threatening. Selio’s patent-protected technology eliminates this common, costly and dangerous complication and thereby prevents significant patient morbidity and expensive hospital admissions for invasive treatment (which comes at an average cost of $11,000 per patient).

It is a single use, smart device that temporarily seals the needle access route into the lung before the biopsy even takes place and so eliminates the risk of lung collapse.

The technology has been rigorously tested in the lab, and in subsequent acute pre-clinical in vivo studies, with very positive results. The company is already beginning to look globally, seeking advice from regulatory consultants in the US, and has a clear path through FDA and CE mark approval.


Selio adopts a revolutionary approach by preventing the pneumothorax from occurring before the biopsy even takes place. Existing interventions focus on deploying an adhesive or plug in the biopsy needle path after the biopsy. Instead, this smart-needle technology is preventative, circumventing this painful and costly concern. With over one million lung biopsy procedures carried out globally per annum, this new device could prevent more than 350 000 cases of lung collapse annually.

Vision & goals

Selio aims to have its technology available within three years and is planning to manufacture the device in Ireland. “There is a wealth of medtech R&D expertise available in Ireland together with a very supportive start-up community,” says co-founder Colm McGarvey. “We are delighted to have received such tremendous support from EIT. We will shortly be recruiting two further technical roles as we accelerate our device commercialisation and our vision of revolutionising lung biopsy care.”

Results to date:

  • Winner of the EIT Health UK-Ireland Headstart/Proof of Concept Award July 2017 (€50 000)
  • MedTech Innovator Finalist (4 out of 600), San Jose, California October 2017 ($25 000)
  • Enterprise Ireland (EI) commercialisation fund support valued at €500 000
  • Start-up company, Selio Medical incorporated in September 2017
  • Achieved positive pre-clinical data
  • Problem and solution validated with more than 60 clinicians worldwide
  • Confirmed regulatory and reimbursement pathway
  • IP filed in EU

Benefits of EIT Health support

Selio Medical founders, Colm McGarvey and Garrett Ryan, met during their participation in the BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme, which is supported by EIT Health’s Education Pillar, and follows the Identify, Invent, Implement Model developed by Stanford Biodesign. While enrolled in BioInnovate, Selio’s founders identified the high-risk of lung collapse during biopsy, invented the smart-needle technology, and from there have taken a path towards commercialisation to implement their solution.

After completing the BioInnovate Programme, Selio obtained support from the EIT Health Accelerator, starting with participation in the UK-Ireland Health Innovation Training Day, during which they received world-class training from pitch coaches, IP and reimbursement experts and investors. Following this training, Selio secured €50 000 funding by winning the Headstart/Proof-of-Concept award, which is part of the EIT Health Accelerator.

Founding year: 2017

Location: Dublin, Ireland

Team members:

  • Colm McGarvey (Co-founder)
  • Garrett Ryan (Co-founder)

Contact: mcgarvco@tcd.ie