Inventing medical devices

February 15, 2015 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Machines

medical equipment

Inventing medical devices

Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi is an ENT surgeon and medical device innovation expert who co-invented 16 medical devices. His invention Entraview is considered to be one of the top 30 tech innovations in India, awarded by Lockheed Martin India innovation. A a Stanford-India Biodesign (SIB) Fellow with core expertise in the process of identifying and analyzing unmet clinical needs for quick development of low-cost and high quality medical devices, and teaching/ training the Biodesign process. He is also the director of  Clinical Innovations and Partnerships at Innaccel Consulting Services. He is also the author of book “inventing medical devices: A perspective from India

He continues his clinical career by running his private evening ENT clinic and carries out surgical procedures at Apollo Hospitals, Bangalore India as Associate Consultant in Ear nose and throat surgery.


TechStorey: There is a gap between clinical practice and engineering experience. As a physician you have co-invented 16 medical devices. How did you fill the gap? and how do you manage two distinct

Dr Jagdish: I strongly feel being in both professions is critical for meaningful health care innovations. My clinical work gives me an in depth understanding of the unmet clinical needs and my time spent on
innovating medical devices helps address these unmet needs by developing new medical technologies. Clinical practice and innovations therefore happen simultaneously and this combination helps in
developing medical devices that are very specific for our Indian healthcare ecosystem. Clinical domain is an integral part of a physician’s life and I fill the lack of engineering or technical expertise by collaborating with engineers and designers who are often co-inventors in many of the inventions that I have co-developed over the last few years. I continue my clinical practice actively by
running an evening clinic (ENT) which is housed within the innovation centre at InnAccel. I am affiliated with Apollo Hospital in Bangalore for surgeries which I perform on weekends or early in the day.

TechStorey: Is there a common platform where engineers & physicians
cross pollinate? Tell us more about InnAccel and its funding strategy.

Dr Jagdish:  There is no natural platform for collaboration between clinicians and engineers as of today in our ecosystem. We at InnAccel focus on bridging this gap by creating a platform where physicians, engineers and designers can collaborate and co create. We conduct numerous programs, workshops, fellowships etc where multidisciplinaryteams of engineers, clinicians and designers identify unmet clinical needs by observing clinical problems for 2 weeks to 2 months at a partnering hospital and through a structured process analyse and identify a pressing clinical need worth solving. We help teams convert ideas and concepts to world-class, market-ready, regulatory compliant products, while minimizing risk, cost, and time to market. InnAccel offers state-of-the-art labs, infrastructure at its Bangalore Accelerator, an experienced, hands-on, management team, and access to funding to help your start up’s and entrepreneurs succeed. We are currently accelerating 2 startup companies, 2 EIR’s (entrepreneur in residence) and developing two internal technologies focused on affordable healthcare. InnAccel is currently funded by its founders. However, we are working towards setting up an external venture pool fund of 150-250 crores which would invest in companies accelerated by InnAccel. Presently this option is being evaluated for feasibility and alignment with the government regulations for raising capital in Indian registered companies.

TechStorey: Your invention Entraview is considered to be one of the top 30 tech innovations in India and was awarded by Lockheed Martin India Innovation (The mechanical adaptor allows easy
interchangeability of ear, nose or throat scope).  Some of your other innovations like Noxeno- A low cost easy to use nasal foreign body
extractor and the one called SAANS in particular which has the life
saving mechanism for babies with respiratory distress syndrome seems to address very serious problems. But where do these products stand in terms of market capitalization?

Dr Jagdish: These products that you have mentioned have a common focus of providing affordable healthcare in the rural and semi-urban regions of our country. They also address a very specific clinical problem that is unique to our Indian healthcare ecosystem. This specificity of the technology to our environment is the key driver for adoption and penetration to the end user market. Entraview has been licensed out to a private global major and is being used for screening ear, nose throat diseases in rural India through health workers. Noxeno has also been licensed to an emerging Indian company and has been financially supported through government grant funding. This device will reach the
end user through a distribution network which can reach doctors in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. SAANS was the result of collaboration with a pediatrician in Uganda where a similar need prevails. SAANS may take
the route of government adoption, where the payer becomes the government and the end user gets the technology at no cost or significantly discounted price.

TechStorey:  India still imports most of its medical devices. Do you see there is an opportunity to develop medical devices in India? What advice do you have for startup companies who are trying to set
their foot in this market?

Dr Jagadish: 70% of medical devices are still imported in India. Many medical devices imported in India may not be suitable for the Indian market because of our unique reimbursement and regulatory environment which make these technologies unaffordable and difficult to adopt. Moreover, these technologies address clinical challenges that are not specific to our healthcare system and often require additional training and skills. The one advice that I would give to young start-ups and innovators who are focussed at inventing medical devices for india would be to develop technologies that address a specific unmet need that is unique to our healthcare environment. This is crucial for driving change, adoption in India and other global countries. Affordable and appropriate medical devices and diagnostics are an integral part of any effective healthcare system and continue to be a critical unmet need for billions of low-income consumers living in countries like India reaching $42 billion in India, and $198billion in BRICs by 2025