Medical Device Start-Up Celebrates Important Milestone

PenBlade, a developer and manufacturer of safety scalpels, graduated from their space at BioInnovations Gateway on Wednesday, March 5th. The company has outgrown the space they have been occupying at BiG, and will be headed to Church and State for further expansion.

BiG, a Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) supported educational  institution and workforce training facility, provides access to laboratories, machines, office space and resources for high school students and entrepreneurs as they work together to develop next-generation medical technologies.

“We have a tight-knit community here at BiG, so I think everybody that’s here today is a part of PenBlades success too,” said Scott Marland, executive director of BiG. “We’re all here providing support for each other in the community.”

The PenBlade safety scalpel has a retractable blade that activates like a click-pen and retracts with the push of a button.  The release button is positioned near the front of the scalpel where it can be pressed without looking or repositioning the hand. The safety scalpel incorporates a safety stop to prevent accidental blade exposure, and a trimming groove for sutures.

“We appreciate the opportunity and support,” said Branden Rosenhan, founder and CEO of PenBlade. “We commit that we’re going to make this better, we’re going to grow it and make this the number one safety scalpel in the world, and have the best-branded name. I know we have the team to do it.”

During their time at BiG, PenBlade has provided Granite Technical Institute (GTI) students with opportunities to learn about the medical device industry. Through a collaboration with instructors and PenBlade staff, students have had the unique experience of hands-on involvement in a number of activities to support PenBlade’s development. Students were involved in machining, production activities like tip grindings of dull blades, computer aided design using industry software like CAD and safety scalpel inspection in a clean room. Additionally, PenBlade has provided students the opportunity to work as interns.

Ivy Estabrooke, executive director for USTAR, attended the graduation event and said this is an exciting time, not just for PenBlade but for entrepreneurs in Utah.

“PenBlade represents what can be achieved in Utah with the diverse opportunities for startups and entrepreneurs,” she said. “In a little more than a year, PenBlade has gone from an idea to a tangible product on the verge of expansion.”

Granite School District superintendent, Linda Mariotti, was also present for the graduation event. She applauded PenBlade in providing opportunities for students to work as interns.  Close to 100 intern hours have been logged with PenBlade thus far.

“Working hand in hand with the product inventor, company representatives and engineers in the development of this product has given these students a leg up in the life science industry, and will hopefully set them on a path that leads to greater opportunities down the road,” said Mariotti.