“Restoring function restores dignity” — Dennis Dannemiller, COO and chief commercialization officer
At 3D Urologic LLC, the mission is clear: to give people back their lives. For those living with severe bladder dysfunction, everyday activities can be taxing. That’s why 3D Urologic, a Bounce Innovation Hub Incubator company, has developed a surgically implanted medical device that helps repair and restore urinary bladder function to men and women, with a special focus on military personnel and veterans.
We caught up with Dennis Dannemiller, chief operating officer and chief commercialization officer, to chat more about the company’s mission and discuss what’s happening next.
Bounce: What does 3D Urologic do?
Dennis: 3D Urologic has developed a patented medical device as an alternative to catheters and urinary diversion. The device is a long-term implant with a unique mechanical valve system that restores urinary function and bladder control. It is designed for those who suffer from blast-induced injuries, accidents, cancer and neurological disorders such as spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and spina bifida.
This loss of urinary function can have long-term, negative effects on a person’s physical health and mental well-being. It also affects the ability to remain active in society. Restoring function restores dignity and gives the person control over activities of daily living and improves quality of life.
Bounce: What was the inspiration behind 3D Urologic?
Dennis: It all started with Sam Drager, president of 3D Urologic, who has lived with a spinal cord injury and a secondary condition of neurogenic urinary bladder dysfunction for more than 35 years. Sam couldn’t wait any longer for the medical device industry to bring to market a replacement for urinary catheters. So he created a prototype, filed patent application and the company was born in 2013. Sam received buy-in from both male and female urologists—all who are current company shareholders—and in 2020, formed a product development and regulatory team of integrated subcontractor partners.
Bounce: What are you most excited about?
Dennis: Receiving our U.S. patent in 2017. Also, we are currently participating in the TRIAD (Technology Requirements & Innovation Awareness Days) Program from GDI Partners, LLC., which helps companies improve Department of Defense (DoD) engagement. It has introduced the company to an array of military program managers and technology scouts looking for next generation medical technologies.
We are excited about the opportunity to help our most severely injured warfighters who have 40 to 60 years of life remaining with severe urinary dysfunction, and veterans who have loss of function due to landmines, improvised explosives, vehicle accidents, nerve gases and more.
Bounce: What’s next for 3D Urologic?
With letters of support from the medical device industry, we are excited for our next step to secure funding—either government grants or private investment—to finish up biofluids studies, address design requirements, explore a wireless control of mechanical valve system and commence non-human clinical trials. From there, we will begin entering human trials.
We also look forward to making a difference in the lives of the 10 to 15 million patients from the general population who suffer with severe urinary bladder dysfunction.
Bounce: What’s your advice for upcoming entrepreneurs?
Dennis: It’s important to seek out and be open to critical reviews and comments from subject matter experts and stakeholders to improve your product’s form, fit and function. For example, our product design is at version six, which has opened up market applications to significant larger urinary dysfunction patient populations beyond spinal cord injury patients.
Bounce: How has being a part of the Bounce community contributed to the success of 3D Urologic?
Dennis: Being in a community with other entrepreneurs and risk takers, and having a dedicated entrepreneur in residence on your side is invaluable. EIRs help you face challenges; pivot when necessary; and remain calm and in control even when events seem to be in a constant state of change.
Bounce: What’s one fun fact people may not know about you (personal or professional)?
Dennis: I have more than 35 years of experience in advancing projects toward commercialization, starting my career with Goodyear Aerospace Corporation. I’ve worked with early-stage technologies associated with very cool, never-done-before projects. I’ve also worked on a NASA space shuttle with an advanced booster rocket motor and a variety of classified Department of Defense projects.
To learn more about 3D Urologic, contact Dennis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330.253.7020.