New CEO, Chief Medical Officer to scale company that developed drug-free, FDA-approved treatment for chronic constipation
OCTOBER 19, 2023 — BOSTON — Vibrant Gastro, which developed a groundbreaking drug-free treatment for chronic constipation, has hired new executive leadership to scale the company following its FDA approval and availability by prescription. Joining the company are CEO John Schellhorn and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Raj Nihalani, both of whom have successfully grown and sold multiple GI companies over the course of their careers.
Up to one in five American adults — disproportionately women and people of color — struggle to have bowel movements, and existing treatments ruin their quality of life. Traditional and prescription laxatives cause sudden on-set diarrhea — uncomfortable, uncontrollable and unpredictable. In fact, 60% of patients say the treatments are worse than the constipation itself.
Vibrant works differently, using a vibrating capsule to restore the colon’s natural rhythm and put you back in control. Studies show that Vibrant has a low rate of side effects, with just 1.2% of patients reporting diarrhea. Since Vibrant’s not a drug, there are no interactions with other drugs, unlike traditional and prescription laxatives.
For Schellhorn and Dr. Nihalani, Vibrant is the continuation of long careers transforming healthcare by solving vexing medical problems. Schellhorn joins Vibrant with decades of experience leading device companies including:
- Global Kinetics: Oversaw the commercialization of the world’s first wearable biosensor to continuously measure and monitor movement symptoms in Parkinson’s Disease.
- Zerigo Health: The first and only connected phototherapy system that uses an app on a patient’s phone to manage dosing, frequency and duration of UVB light therapy.
- Monteris Medical: Developed the world’s first MRI-compatible surgical robot for minimally invasive neurosurgery. The device guides laser probes to brain tumors and lesions, while using an MRI to visualize in real time the effects of tumor ablation.
Schellhorn’s gastrointestinal experience includes leading Softscope Medical Technologies, which created a device allowing endoscopes to more easily and painlessly reach target tissues. At BARRX Medical, he served as chief commercial officer and doubled sales in two years of the company’s radiofrequency ablation system that eradicates Barrett’s esophagus for patients with low-grade dysplasia.
“Vibrant Gastro is everything I’ve historically looked for in companies,” Schellhorn said. “Vibrant is an outstanding, proven product that solves a real problem, and I’m ready to help us reach the tens of millions of people suffering from chronic constipation and give them the freedom to live their lives again.”
Schellhorn is also a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, having served as a commissioned officer and naval aviator.
Dr. Nihalani combines his background in bariatric, thoracic and vascular surgery with his prowess as an inventor and developer of medical intellectual property. He holds 24 patents and has held leadership roles at ReShape Lifesciences, a company focused on weight-loss solutions including the FDA-approved Lap-Band program that is a minimally invasive, long-term treatment for obesity. Prior to joining the company, Dr. Nihalani started his own, BarioSurg, where he developed the Gastric Vest System to treat obesity and diabetes with minimally invasive laparoscopic technology. The company was acquired by Enteromedics in 2017.
“From diabetes to obesity, my career has focused on some of the most common health maladies facing people, and what attracted me to Vibrant Gastro is just how overlooked chronic constipation is as a problem for people,” Dr. Nihalani said. “It affects one in five adults and disproportionately women and people of color. Vibrant is the answer that patients have been seeking for so long, and I’m excited as we work with physicians and patients to build on Vibrant and its unique mechanism of action to solve even more issues.”
A completely different kind of treatment for chronic constipation, Vibrant is drug- and chemical-free and uses a unique approach to get your body’s digestive system working again. Surveys show 84% of physicians plan to prescribe Vibrant because it provides patients with consistent and predictable bowel movements, no straining and, most importantly, improved quality of life.
“The additions of John and Raj will help Vibrant quickly scale, and we’re excited to have them both join the company,” said Vibrant Gastro Board Chair Yoav Shaked of Sequoia Capital.
Vibrant Co-founder Lior Ben Tsur, who led the company through its development and FDA approval process, has transitioned to an advisory role.
Up to 1 in 5 American adults — disproportionately women and people of color — struggle with chronic constipation, and existing treatments ruin their quality of life with 60% saying the treatments, which cause diarrhea, are worse than the constipation. Vibrant is a new FDA-approved drug-free treatment that uses a vibrating capsule to restore the colon’s natural rhythm and put you back in control. Clinical results show Vibrant provides one, two and sometimes three additional complete spontaneous bowel movements weekly, even in severe adult patients, with just 1.2% of patients reporting diarrhea. Since Vibrant’s not a drug, there are no interactions with other drugs, unlike traditional and prescription laxatives. Learn more at vibrantgastro.com.