It's a sad day for SmartPill Corp. and the Buffalo Niagara region's nascent life sciences industry. As David Robinson has reported this week, the company was bought by Given Imaging of Israel and is being moved there. Thirteen local jobs are being lost, and the local scientific/business community is taking a gut punch.
SmartPill was founded in 2003 with a novel product right out of a Jules Verne novel - a pill that could measure internal body conditions and functions. The capsule looked like a horse pill and it contained instruments to measure acidity, pressure and other things. President and CEO David Barthel fought the good fight, raising more than $60 million to launch and sustain the business.
But for whatever reasons, the company couldn't make it. Given Imaging has a similar pill that has a camera inside. Perhaps it can take the SmartPill technology and use it to help people.
No one said getting a life sciences industry off the ground would be easy. Successes and failures are all part of the process. A tip of the hat to Mr. Barthel, his people and his investors for swinging for the fences. Let's hope they keep trying.
- Grove Potter