Aspero Medical receives $225,000 Grant for development of intraoperative gastrointestinal endoscopic balloon overtube

Startup company improving endoscopy procedures with their micro-textured balloon technology continues to further develop product line

Aspero Medical, a medical device startup focused on developing solutions and applications for the field of gastroenterology, has received a $225,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the purpose of developing an advanced intraoperative endoscopic balloon overtube to use in gastrointestinal (GI) and endoscopy procedures. Aspero Medical is a spinoff of the University of Colorado Boulder and a graduate company of Innosphere Ventures’ commercialization program.

The NSF grant funds will be used to further develop Aspero Medical’s C-Tube product line that incorporates their proprietary PillarTM micro-texture technology. “This investment will allow us to finalize an entirely new balloon and overtube design that will enable consistent and complete colonoscopy procedures,” said Dr. Rentschler, Aspero Medical CEO. “We are extremely grateful to have received this grant from the National Science Foundation.”

Balloon endoscopy has become the standard of care in the drive to diagnose and treat small bowel disease. However, the current balloons used in these procedures are smooth and round making them prone to slippage. These ineffective balloons result in an estimated $100 million in increased annual costs for healthcare providers and patients. Every year in the U.S., over 51.5 million gastrointestinal endoscopies are performed.

The project will be led by principal investigator (PI) Mark Rentschler and supported through Prospect Life Sciences. Rentschler is Chief Executive Officer for Aspero Medical and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder.

“NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of science and engineering,” said Andrea Belz, Division Director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “With the support of our research funds, any deep technology startup or small business can guide basic science into meaningful solutions that address tremendous needs.”

“The National Science Foundation grant combined with previous investment from Innosphere Ventures and the State of Colorado OEDIT Advanced Industries grant program will enable the next stage of development for this novel technology,” said James Willett, senior strategic advisor and Aspero Medical Board Member. “We look forward to carrying this project to full commercialization and expanding the options currently available for endoscopic gastrointestinal procedures.”

“There are significant limitations with current technology used in gastrointestinal endoscopy procedures, but Aspero has developed an alternative that will potentially improve performance of certain procedures, save time for practitioners and patients, and improve patient outcomes,” said Mike Freeman, Innosphere Ventures general partner. “Innosphere has worked with impressive university faculty over the years, and we found Mark Rentschler to be an outstanding CU professor and researcher who understands what’s required to transfer and commercialize technology from the university setting.”

About Aspero Medical:
Aspero Medical’s Pillar TM micro-texture technology was developed at the University of Colorado.  The technology was developed to improve gastrointestinal endoscopy procedure performance and outcomes.  Aspero Medical was founded in 2018 by Mark Rentschler, PhD, PE, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, and Steven Edmundowicz, MD, Professor and Medical Director of the Digestive Health Center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center, and received initial equity funding through Innosphere Ventures, Fort Collins, Colorado.

About the NSF’s Small Business Programs:
America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and  societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $1.75 million to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $8.1 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. For more information, visit #NSFFUNDED, #NSFSTORIES

About Innosphere Ventures:
Innosphere Ventures accelerates the success of science and technology-based startup and emerging companies and operates a sed stage venture capital fund. As Colorado’s leading incubation program and commercialization expert, Innosphere’s program focuses on ensuring companies are investor-ready, connecting founders with experienced advisors and early hires, making introductions to corporate partners, exit planning, and accelerating top line revenue growth. Innosphere has been supporting Colorado startups for over 20 years and is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with a strong mission to create jobs and grow Colorado’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.


Mark Rentschler, Ph.D.,P.E., CEO, Aspero Medical                James Willett, Aspero Medical Board of Directors
(720) 315-5165 | [email protected]         [email protected]