Spencer Jones, the founder and chief technology officer of Fayetteville-based medical device company Lineus Medical has joined Lapovationsanother Fayetteville medical device company.
Lapovations announced Tuesday (Oct. 18) that Jones has joined the company that’s creating products to improve laparoscopy. He was hired as chief technology officer and vice president of sales and will lead product innovation and the sales and distribution of the company’s flagship product, AbGrab.
In 2015, Jones was founded Lineus Medical, and as its chief technology officer, he led the company’s innovation and clinical efforts. During that time, Lineus Medical took the SafeBreak Vascular medical device from idea to clearance with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and secured multiple US and international patents. Jones said Aug. 31 was his last day at Lineus Medical.
“I’ve been a huge supporter of Lapovations since the company’s early days and have always been impressed with their track record of success,” Jones said. “I’m incredibly excited to join such a stellar team of operators and look forward to building on the momentum they’ve already created.”
Since 2020, Jones was a part-time consultant for Lapovations and served as the company’s director of research and development, supporting product development and assisting with marketing, sales and distribution.
“Spencer has been a key, albeit informal, adviser to me from day one,” said Jared Greer, founder and CEO of Lapovations. “We’ve been fortunate to work with him more formally as a part-time consultant for several years now, and we couldn’t be happier for the opportunity to add him to our executive team full-time. If I could choose one Northwest Arkansas medical device executive to partner with, hands-down it would be Spencer. He has exhibited managerial mettle and is a real leader that employees and other key stakeholders can get behind. I’ve worked with Spencer across several projects over the years and witnessed his range and depth of expertise. He’s experienced, has great instincts and has what it takes to grow Lapovations into the company we know it can be.”
Over the past several months, Lapovations has secured seven distribution partnerships, with 22 representatives selling AbGrab across 11 states. AbGrab has been registered with the FDA and became available for sale in the United States in January 2021. Lapovations has five employees.
“We’ve made great progress thus far, but we’re only getting started,” Jones said. “Over the next year, we plan to onboard dozens of additional sales reps, focusing on those with strong surgeon relationships in target-rich environments. Onboarding, supporting and coaching distributor reps was a critical part of the job with my previous employer and something I both excelled at and enjoyed doing. Jared is an exceptional entrepreneur who has achieved true sales excellence throughout his career, and I’m thankful for the confidence he’s placed in me to lead sales and distribution for Lapovations.”
According to a news release, the AbGrab is a surgical assist device that allows surgeons to lift the abdominal wall more reliably and less invasively at the start of laparoscopy, or minimally invasive surgery of the abdomen. While it’s often the shortest part of a laparoscopic procedure, laparoscopic abdominal entry accounts for about half of the serious laparoscopic complications and litigations related to laparoscopy.
Asked about his involvement in Lineus Medical’s development of the devices he invented, including the Bifurcated Venous Access Device (BVAD) that’s yet to receive FDA clearance, Jones said, “I’m not going to be involved in the development of the BVAD moving forward , but with my vested interest in seeing the product FDA clearance, I am absolutely willing to help further its development however I can.”
Lineus Medical’s first medical device, SafeBreak Vascular, received FDA clearance in May 2021.
“Lineus Medical has tripled in size in the last year since FDA clearance of our flagship product, SafeBreak Vascular,” said Vance Clement, CEO of Lineus Medical. “Our growth has provided us the opportunity to strategically recruit and round out our team with the key personnel needed to continue to develop innovative technologies and grow the organization.”
Asked whether Jones’ move to another company would impact Lineus Medical, Clement noted the company has had the same CEO for more than four years. “The company, along with the strong leadership team that has been put in place, will continue to execute the organization’s strategic plan,” he added.
Clement said the company, which has eight employees, is not planning to replace the chief technology officer role that Jones vacated.
“Spencer has an entrepreneur’s spirit and founded Lineus Medical as a 24-year-old nurse and raised its first seed funding round necessary to get the company off the ground,” Clement said. “Lineus Medical would not exist without this initial product idea and his efforts to get the company up and running. Spencer is a tireless, hardworking person who brings tremendous energy to an organization. He will do great things in his new role at Lapovations.”
In 2016, Lapovations was formed in the graduate-level New Venture Development course co-taught by Carol Reeves and Sarah Goforth with the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Arkansas. According to the company’s website, Lapovations became the most successful startup competition team in UA history, winning seven state, regional and national business plan competitions, placing second in two others and earning more than $305,000 in cash and investment prizes. The website shows the company has received more than $2.5 million in funding.