Special Startup Series: MedTech innovation to reduce bone fracture damage

Pune based startup, MediAsha Technologies has come up with a portable medical device to delay the adverse impact of fractures resulting from sudden accidents

0
267
Download PDF

Globally every year, 200 million people suffer from fractures. According to the WHO, India has the highest number of road accidents at 14 deaths per hour. Unfortunately, fractures can happen to anyone anywhere. Dislocation, fractures, and sprain are the most common injuries linked to road accidents. The aged are more prone to injuries, and hence an increase in the number of fractures is seen in the geriatric population globally.

An injury that breaks a bone may also seriously damage other tissues, including the skin, nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and organs. To prevent major complications, the most crucial thing is to treat all injuries in the first 4-6 hours of pre-hospital care, while the patient waits for medical attendance. Working in this direction, the Pune based MediAsha Technologies has come up with a solution in the form of a medical device to delay the adverse impact of fractures.

Founded during February 2018 by Mayur Sanas and Amol Sanas at NCL Innovation Park, the MediAsha Technologies is now a Startup India recognized company. Founders say their intention to start the company remains to solve the unmet needs in the healthcare sector and bring forth novel medical devices.

“Development of innovative medical devices with a high impact on society at an affordable cost is the aspiration of our company,” mentions Mayur Sanas, Co-Founder of the company, “Asha is a Sanskrit word which stands for hope, and MediAsha endeavors to create hopes for a better life through their innovation.”

Inception

After completing his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Shivaji University, Kolhapur, Mayur had a strong desire to do something for the country, and he initially even attempted to join the defense forces.

Mayur Sanas, Co founder, MediAsha Technologies.

“When that did not work out, I joined Indian Institute of Technology, Design and Manufacturing (IIITDM) Kancheepuram for Master of Design program, as I wanted to keep my options open. There I worked on a project related to energy harvesting from sewage and realized the potential and importance of multi-disciplinary work,” he explains, “After my Masters, I had an offer for a PhD in Taiwan, but an advertisement for a position in Biomedical Engineering and Technology (incubation) Centre, also called BETiC, intrigued me. I joined BETiC to pursue my dream of doing something useful for people at the bottom of the pyramid.”

Having worked as Research Associate in BETiC, College of Engineering (COEP) for 4 years where he was involved in the design and development of innovative medical devices, Mayur got four patents to his credit. During that period, he developed a first-aid device for immobilizing fractured limbs under the guidance of Dr Ashish Ranade, Consultant Orthopedic surgeon at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital, Pune.

Later, he decided to take this product further by taking the entrepreneurial route to serve the people. For this innovation, he received the Biotechnology Ignition Grant from BIRAC and incorporated MediAsha Technologies in Pune in February 2018 with incubation support of Venture Center in Pune. Through mentoring support from Venture Center, Mayur received the Biotechnology Ignition Grant from BIRAC in the 11th call and incorporated his Startup, MediAsha Technologies. Through BIRAC, we not just received funding, but also got exposure to various events and boot camps.

Challenges

“Initiating a startup journey is easy but long-term sustainability is a challenge. Experiential knowledge that comes from mentors and advisors plays a vital role in this journey, says Mayur crediting Venture Centre for the help. “Whenever we have needed help, Venture Center has provided support and guidance on funding, certifications, regulatory, and business mentoring sessions.”

“Apart from funding support, the base camps and regulatory facility provided by the BIRAC Regional Bioinnovation Centre (BRBC) at Venture Center has aided us greatly. The network and ecosystem of fellow startups both in Venture Center and Bhau Institute has helped a lot in every aspect,” adds Mayur.

                          Mayur Sanas (right) with his team at an exhibition.

Mayur who believes in continuous learning calls the whole journey as adventurous and very insightful. “Giving priority to work before anything, networking, exploring new fields and seeing positive in every undesirable situation has made me what I am today,” he says.

The primary focus of R&D activities

To prevent major complications, the most crucial thing is to treat all injuries in the first 4-6 hours of pre-hospital care, while the patient waits for medical attendance. The fracture if left unattended can cause damage to accompanying blood vessels and tissues, which could prolong healing, leading to muscle pain and spasm. Also, there are chances of secondary injuries which could be more harmful.

MediAsha aims to solve this problem faced by over 200 million fracture patients and seeks to reach out to as many affected ones as possible. MediAsha Technologies has developed a first aid device that provides early and instant immobilization by restricting the movement of the affected limb, thus reducing muscle pain and preventing further complications associated with the fracture. The MediAsha Splint is an integrated pack, which is a portable and easy-application device which provides immobilization to the fractured limb until the patient is taken to the clinician.

                               (Video credits-MediAsha Technologies) 

The 3 step application process makes it user-friendly – Dip, Squeeze and Wrap. Dip the splint in water and wait till bubbles cease, squeeze the splint from short edges to remove excess water and stretch to remove wrinkles, wrap the splint around the fractured limb with the help of straps provided. In less than 3 minutes, the splint hardens and provides support to the affected limb.

The outer layer which is in contact with the skin is biocompatible and provides cushioning. The straps provided ensure encapsulation of the fractured limb and can later be removed without the requirement of any external aid. The splint is essentially a half cast (circumferentially) and thus compensates for swelling. Being a portable device, MediAsha Splint can be accommodated in any first aid box. Also, it is conformal to any shape, and can thus be used to support fractures at any location (therapeutic positioning).

Product development and commercialization

The product is in the pre-commercialization stage (MVP is ready). Biocompatibility tests including cytotoxicity, skin sensitization and skin irritation are being carried out to ensure that the product adheres to the regulatory specifications. Primary product packaging is complete with labelling and user manual. The package design is as per CDSCO guidelines. The application of the splint for different types of fractures is illustrated in pictorial form on the user manual to guide the user. After completion of clinical testing, we should be ready to enter the market.

MediAsha Splint overcomes the drawbacks of competitors in terms of the application process, portability, therapeutic positioning and affordability. As compared with competitors, the MediAsha Splint costs three times less, and this is because both the raw material and manufacturing process are indigenous.

Way Forward

MediAsha aims to serve the primary market of 24,000 ambulances, 1,99,873 healthcare centers and 15,73,880 educational institutes in India. Further, in terms of the secondary market, successful positioning of MediAsha Splint in various first-aid kits, sports academies, government and private transport agencies, armed forces and training centers, and the disaster management team is expected to help it to reach out to the maximum number of possible beneficiaries.

The company is looking out for funding and mentoring support for commercialization of the device. It is hopeful of support from government agencies to position its product MediAsha Splint in government healthcare centers, and encourage early adoption by local paramedics, educational institutes, and road and transport departments.

“Initially, we would like to reach out to and cover our target market for MediAsha Splint. Later, we will focus on creating a portfolio for orthopedic splints and cast, and developing other products targeting different sectors of healthcare,” says Mayur while sharing his outlook.

Our best wishes to the founders and their unique ideas.