Stanford Spurs Med-Tech Startups in India

By using experiential teaching methods with cross-disciplinary teams, the Stanford India BioDesign fellowship has managed to create a cohort that is focused on creating new, cost-effective, devices customized to India’s healthcare needs.  Products include devices for pregnant mothers and newborn babies and those that help with biopsies and fecal collection.

1) Brun, a term in Sanskrit that means “fetus” is a fetomaternal monitor with a patented technology which was developed by 2012 Fellows of the Stanford Innovation Design program, Dr. Prashant Jha, Anirudh Chaturvedi, and Balaji Teegala.

Brün Fetomaternal Monitor

With inadequate monitoring during labor, there is a chance of the baby going into distress that can potentially lead to stillbirth. India unfortunately accounts for the largest number of stillbirths in the world with official figures greater than 330,000 every year. The solution landscape is littered with tools that are not designed to face the rigors of high patient volumes, inadequate power supply and lack of skilled workers.

Brun can be used by even the least trained worker in the field. It automatically captures the vital parameters of the mother and child and displays an easy-to-interpret graph of the safe progression of labor. An alarm is sounded for any parameters going out of range enabling timely interventions.

2) Specialized technologies for soft tissue biopsy were invented by a team of 2012 Fellows led by Siraj Bagwan, along with Dr. Jonathan Pillai, Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi and Siddhartha Joshi. IndioLabs, a startup company founded by Siraj Bagwan, has acquired an exclusive global license of these technologies from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, for further development and commercialization.

The BioScoop invention comprises a method that significantly improves on the technique of aspiration needle biopsy as well as a device that automates the entire biopsy procedure while improving the tissue sample size.

The BxSeal is safety feature of the invention of the biopsy device to assist in concurrently delivering a hemostatic agent inside the biopsy track to significantly reduce the risk of internal hemorrhage.

BxOne with Bioscoop and BxSear Technologies

The system enables physicians to achieve safer and definitive tissue capture during liver biopsy using advanced needle-tissue characterization and automated control.

3) Windmill Health was co-founded by Stanford India Biodesign Fellows of 2011. The first innovation NeoBreathe was conceptualized by founders Dr. Avijit Bansal and Ayesha Chaudhary, PhD at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.

NeoBreathe

NeoBeathe is the world’s first foot-operated resuscitator system for new born babies that does not require electricity and is simple enough to be handled by caregivers of all levels.

“Birth asphyxia causes 811,000 deaths every year, most of which can be prevented by resuscitation. But resuscitation is difficult using current devices, and requires skill that is scarce in the developing world, leading to death and disability,” said CEO Avijit Bansal.

4) Nitin Sisodia, founder & CEO of the Sohum Innovation Lab is a 2010 Stanford India Bio-design fellow. The device Sohum provides early screening for congenital hearing loss, one of the most common birth disorders. In resource constrained settings, hearing impairment goes undiagnosed until the child is about 4 years. By then, it is too late for the care cycle to be effective. This leads to speech loss, impaired communication skills, and possible unemployment. Early screening, leads to timely treatment and rehabilitation, as well as savings in healthcare expenses to the system.

Sohum Early Hearing Screening device

The device is non-invasive, with high sensitivity and specificity and is specially designed for mass screening of neonates. It uses brain-stem auditory evoked response (BAER or ABR) technology which is the gold standard in auditory testing and is recommended as the test of choice by the American Association of Pediatrics and the National Health Services, UK.

5) Fellows of 2008, Nishith Chasmawala and Amit Sharma spent more than 1,000 hours in hospitals, ambulance rides, and patients’ homes, both in India and across the United States, to understand any unmet clinical need, and build a solution around it, reports Economic Times.

On realizing that the only solution to fecal incontinence was a diaper or pad, Sharma and Chasmawala decided to build fecal management kits for millions of patients in advanced nursing or critical care at their company Consure Medical.

Qora Applicator

The Qora Stool Management Kit features an odor-proof collection bag, a sampling, irrigation and withdrawal port and a hygienic device applicator. It is a USFDA cleared, closed- system stool management system that hygienically captures liquid to semi-formed stool and directs it into an odor proof collection bag offering security and protection to bedridden patients by minimizing painful and costly complications often arising from fecal incontinence.

“An untapped market is basically a gap in the value chain; it is a pain point and that is where innovation is created,” said Padmaja Ruparel, president, Indian Angel Network, which has backed Consure and other healthcare startups. “There is clearly a need in our country. If a venture is flourishing and successful, it becomes a hugely investable proposition.”

The Stanford India Biodesign Fellowship Program is centered at India’s premier public hospital and medical school, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. It is an academic collaboration between Stanford University, the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and AIIMS. The program is jointly funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India and Stanford University, in partnership with the Indo-US Science & Technology Forum.

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Posted on by Gunjan Bagla
Gunjan Bagla
California-based management consultant Gunjan Bagla runs Amritt, a consulting firm helping American companies to succeed in India. Amritt is the trusted advisor for India market research, India business development, India market entry, Global Engineering, Global Technology Scouting, India R&D and Open Innovation. Gunjan is author of "Business in 21st Century India: How to Profit Today from Tomorrow’s Most Exciting Market" (Hachette Book Group, 2008), Amazon's top rated title on the subject. He has appeared as the India Expert on BBC Television, Bloomberg TV, Fox Cable Business and has been quoted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Hollywood Reporter and Business Week for his expertise on India.

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