Synthetic Cadavers – SynDaver

syndaverEntrepreneur Christopher Sakezles commented to me that he wants people to tune in to episode 625 to watch him pitch SynDaver Labs so they can see “what happens when a mad scientist runs a business!” SynDaver Labs makes synthetic human cadavers for medical research and – not surprisingly – TV and movie medical dramas.

The cadavers have realistic human tissue, they blink, breathe, and bleed. SynDaver sells each model for about $40K and they will be used for medical students, who can cut into them like a real human cadaver. Syndaver comes in and “repairs” the parts the students operate on for a fee, so the models are reusable. On a cost basis, they are far less expensive than using human cadavers. On a creepiness level, they’re about equal, perhaps even creepier.

There’s no denying medical research and training is important. Doctors-to-be need proper training, so a sustainable cadaver makes sense. Syndaver Labs and their growing list of customers think so too. The company has plans to move operations to Phoenix in conjunction with a collaborative project with the University of Arizona College of Medicine. They plan to hire 500-1000 people in the next three years.

SynDaver has patented, proprietary technology that goes into their models, which contain fluids, organs, and even fat. The models are so life-like, they can replace the use of human cadavers all together. Employees who assemble the SynDaver models sign non-disclosure agreements and are sworn to secrecy. Whether Sakezles actually needs a Shark or not remains to be seen, but the exposure he’ll get won’t land him on QVC anytime soon! He’s likely in the Tank for exposure and because the business is so unique.

My Take on SynDaver

These things look creepy, but if I were a medical student who works on real cadavers, it probably wouldn’t bother me. This is why I never went into medicine! I think the idea is fantastic, a little futuristic, and potentially scary. What if Sakezles figures a way to give these things brains? Could the next generation of robots look as realistic as a SynDaver Labs model? It’s scary stuff!

But back to practical applications: medical models aren’t new. Anyone who’s taken a CPR course has used a primitive version of what SynDaver makes, this company is taking it to the next level. My pre-med daughter thinks it’s a “cool idea,” (technical talk for a future doctor) because it would allow for more thorough study of a life-like human body. Apparently obtaining, storing, and studying real cadavers is far more expensive than what SynDaver has. Their models cost $40K and can get reused; once a cadaver is studied, it’s essentially useless.

Creepiness aside, I think it’s a good business that will grow exponentially.

Do Sharks Dissect SynDaver Labs’ Proposal?

As you can see from the photo above, all the Sharks get a close look at a SynDaver model. The business is unlike most businesses on Shark Tank: Sakezles isn’t looking for help getting into big box retail or expanding his online sales. SynDaver sales will be through medical sales channels and they’ll sell to hospital administrators, medical schools, etc.

Institutional sales aren’t sexy, which is why you don’t see many medical products in the Tank. Medical products are a multi-billion dollar business, but catheter sales aren’t interesting TV. Creepy cadavers are, and that’s why SynDaver is on the show. This company needs a Shark like Mark Burnett needs another hit show – it would be nice, but it’s not necessary. I don’t think any Shark jumps in, unless it’s a very structured deal. We won’t see much quibbling, but SynDaver looks like it’s going on to be a very big and important business.

About Rob Merlino

Entrepreneur, auteur, raconteur. Rob Merlino is a blogger and writer who enjoys the Shark Tank TV show and Hot Dogs. A father of five who freelances in a variety of publications, Rob has a stable of websites including Shark Tank Blog, Hot Dog Stories, Rob Merlino.com and more.

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