Dr. Gail Lebovic, a Stanford-trained surgeon and founder of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Silicon Valley Innovations, says her company recently debuted an OTC flagship product, NasoClenz, that is like a toothbrush for your nose.
“It’s been a fantastic experience utilizing that high bar that we have for medical devices in terms of quality,” said Lebovic. “We brought that same philosophy to the table while creating something revolutionary. We developed an applicator and a gel to clean and moisturize the skin and hair inside the nose.”
Lebovic, who describes herself as an out-of-the-box thinker, says that early in her career, she was struck by the way women with breast cancer were being taken care of and was disturbed that it was a cookie-cutter, one size fits all approach, with most women having a mastectomy.
Lebovic set out to change breast cancer treatment in the clinical and medical device space and was the first woman surgeon to do oncoplastic surgery in the United States, combining techniques to remove cancerous tumors while performing partial or total breast reconstruction at the same time.
“I became very committed to women’s health care and creating devices that would improve their care and make it less painful,” said Lebovic. “I was fortunate to be able to do that, working with a group of talented engineers well rooted in developing high-quality medical devices. We shared the same philosophy of improving the patient experience. Together, we started eight companies and developed many revolutionary devices. Each company was acquired by larger companies that brought the products to market.”
NasoClenz is a disposable product that contains the antiseptic benzalkonium chloride (0.13%) and emollients. It is currently available online and in over 100 independent pharmacies. “In January, we are beginning direct mailings as well as online digital campaigns,” Lebovic said, aiming for the product to be sold in community pharmacies and eventually, major retailers.
Pointing out that NasoClenz is supported by clinical data, Lebovic said she is working with physicians, one of whom is an ENT who presented a paper at the recent American College of Surgeons meeting. “The paper showed the gel is effective in clearing germs from the nose, and that it improved compliance for people who use CPAP. The study found that 82% of the patients felt it was helpful on a routine basis. They use it before they put CPAP on and in the morning when they wake up.”
Noting that everyone needs to keep their nose clean, Lebovic said people who suffer from allergies, and sinus issues, and those who use CPAP or oxygen can especially benefit from NasoClenz. “They are blowing oxygen straight in their nose. If the nose is dry and/or dirty, the bacteria and particles in the nose can get into the sinuses and can cause inflammation and other issues. It’s a vicious cycle unless you start cleaning the nose,” she said.
How does NasoClenz work?
“The tip has leaflets that do a gentle scrubbing along with the antiseptic gel inside your nose. You put it in as far as it’s comfortable. You rotate it and scrub it up and if you rotate it the other way the leaflets flip over. Most importantly, NasoClenz was designed specifically for the nose. It’s gentle, convenient and effective,” Lebovic explained.
NasoClenz is currently available in a two-count pack for $10, a four-count pack for $15, and a kit that contains 15 applicators and a tube of gel that provides 60 applications, which is priced at $30.
Lastly, Lebovic pointed out that the company was formed before COVID-19, but now, people are more aware than ever how important the nose is in the transmission of disease.
“Through my surgical experience I learned how dirty the nose can be and a large body of scientific literature supports the idea of cleaning the nose. If you decrease the bacterial load in the nose, you can decrease post-op surgical infection. Our team is excited to have created a product that is comfortable, cost-effective and convenient, all of which are important in the medical device industry, but even more so in a consumer product,” she concluded.