Blogs

  • 31 May 2020 by Randy Fisher

     

    A conversation with Bryan Statham, Co-Founder, CEO, LifeBooster Incwww.lifebooster.ca

     

    Tell me about yourself and your journey to this point. How did you decide to start the company?

    Entrepreneurship and business were ingrained in me throughout childhood: my mother was a strong business person and my father was a successful entrepreneur. I knew from a young age that I would become an entrepreneur myself solving problems to help protect people and ensure they were safe.

     

    With that goal in mind, I studied biomedical sciences and was focused on becoming a medical practitioner. Upon graduating, I felt I was missing something... adventure! So, I travelled, working in clinics, hospitals, orphanages, and various care facilities to support myself. When I returned, I worked in a number of different industries from warehousing operations to hospitality to investment banking. I learned how to drive a forklift, motivate people, manage teams, and negotiate deals. Success was always dependent on the quality of the team and our ability to work well together.

     

    During those years, I missed the passion I had helping others while travelling abroad. I also suffered back strains and tendonitis on-the-job. Many of my close friends and family members had worked in demanding industrial environments and they too were seriously injured on-the-job. The devastating physical, emotional, and financial impacts of these injuries resonated with me deeply as I felt strongly that all of these injuries were preventable. I asked myself: “How can we stop these injuries from happening in the first place?”

     

    This observation and frustration with the current state of worker safety in an industrial setting led to the creation of LifeBooster and its connected worker and risk analytics platform. The experiences I had managing warehouse and hospitality operations gave me deep knowledge and insights about the “what”, “how” and “why” of workplace health and safety. Today, we are a market leader in Digital Safety Technology – helping to ensure that every worker goes home safe every day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Our vision is to be the trusted provider of real-time worker risk and safety analytics offering a comprehensive view of multivariate injury risk data to industrial employers.

     

    Who are your Customers / Prospective Customers - What do they do? 

    LifeBooster is operating at the intersection of industrial IoT, insurtech and data analytics. We are serving all sectors of the industrial economy, especially essential service sectors such as energy, manufacturing, utilities, and logistics.

     

    Our value to our customers flows from the shop floor to the boardroom. Employees gain confidence knowing they are safe and protected on-the-job. Safety Managers gain visibility and presence onsite, allowing them to digitally assess the workplace and scale their capabilities to drive effective programs and injury prevention. Employers benefit from reduced costs for workplace injuries, such as medical and insurance costs, and indirect costs related to lost time / productivity losses and administrative burden.

     

    What Solution / Technology are you using to meet your Customers’ needs? 

    We have developed Senz, a connected worker and risk analytics platform. It pairs an industrial-grade wearable multi-sensor platform with a cloud-based analytics engine that delivers risk assessments in near real-time.

    LifeBooster is also developing a suite of risk modules that address different types of risk in industrial work environments. Today, our risk modules include ErgoSenz (ergonomic assessment) and ThermalSenz (heat stress risk).

    We have validated our core business model and the value of our technology through a series of deployments with Fortune 500 employers across a range of target industries. We have also partnered with one of the top workers’ compensation insurers globally. We collaborate and partner with global risk consultancies. Further validation has come through our customers experience: continuing reduction of injury risk exposure in the workplace.      
     

    What differentiates your company from the competition? 

    LifeBooster offers a multi-sensor, multivariate comprehensive injury risk solution - capable of assessing a multitude of risk types simultaneously – whereas competitors typically are single-sensor and/or single injury solutions. We have intelligence on all forms of workplace injuries and embed this knowledge in our data and analytics platform.

     

    Fundamentally, we are a data analytics platform company and not a wearables company: wearable devices offer us the ability to obtain worker safety and risk data, which we analyze with machine learning and provide to our industrial customers for business decisions and risk mitigation. Employees who feel safe on-the-job are going to produce at a higher level and continue working. Employers who respect this important reality gain a more productive workforce and minimize operational disruptions.

     

    Randy Fisher, MA, BJ,  is a communications and market research professional with experience in business writing, customer interviewing, media relations and storytelling. His experience in customer discovery and validation and education helps firms accelerate adoption and rapidly penetrate new markets. https://www.linkedin.com/in/customerdiscoverypros/  He teaches business and proposal writing and interview skills at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He began his career in Vancouver and worked as a business journalist with The Globe and Mail, Financial Post and CBC Radio.

     

  • 28 May 2020 by Randy Fisher

    A conversation with Lukas-Karim Merhi, CEO and Co-Founder, Biointeractive Technologies

     

    Tell me about yourself and your journey to this point. How did you decide to start the company? 

    I was trained as a biomedical engineer with specialization in medical/optical imaging. I decided to pursue entrepreneurship and technology commercialization vs. a PhD. I spent a number of years in academia, familiarizing myself with great technology that could meet massive unmet needs in the market.

    My life has revolved around business – my family have had multiple small businesses and been involved in venture-backed enterprises which have instilled an entrepreneurial spirit. My first attempt at a healthcare startup was a spectacular failure – However, I did learn three important lessons:

    • Do not build accessories to accessories
    • Only work with decision makers in healthcare
    • Don’t run out of money

    These important lessons are embedded in my latest venture. After I stopped working at my first startup, I needed a job to pay the bills and found myself back in academia (initially as a researcher turned lab manager). I met my current co-founders at this lab. They were working on tracking technologies for hand impairments

    Because of my personal journey with physical therapy, I truly resonated with their work. Let me explain. I spent four years doing physical therapy to avoid back surgery. The entire process was inefficient and riddled with self-reporting and guesswork. I thought there had to be a better way – the entrepreneur’s credo!  Access to data, guidance and feedback would have my addressed the problems I faced during my recovery journey.

    The Vision for the company: is to be a category leader in the Digital Physical Therapy market. And, enable everyone to have healthy hands and stay active!
     

    Who are your Customers / Prospective Customers - What do they do?

    They are patients suffering from neurological and orthopedic hand, wrist and elbow impairments caused by conditions like wrist fractures, stroke, spinal cord injuries, carpal tunnel, tendonitis, arthritis.

     

    What Solution / Technology are you using to meet your Customers’ needs?

    We solve this problem with our patent-pending TENZR wristband which is capable of tracking the hand. We combine the data from TENZR with a companion app to guide patients through their recovery journeyWe have a couple dozen peer-reviewed publications validating the technology in addition to market validations via clinical publications. Our technology is also enabling/supporting clinical trial research across Canada

     

    What differentiates your company from the competition? 

    Our real competition is the status quo. This includes lists of exercises; self-reporting and guesswork.

    This does not solve the heart of the problem – patients don’t feel / believe they have the knowledge, guidance or data to take them all the way through to a successful recovery.

    We are disrupting a broken model. When it comes to tracking technologies, our unique sensing capabilities make TENZR the only device capable of tracking the hand using just a wrist-band, without needing data gloves or cameras.

    Our sensing technology can be applied to other joints in the future. Our team members have, and will identify business development opportunities to pursue. We create a fertile and encouraging environment to help them pursue new market opportunities – and share their program and impact with our wider team and community.

     

    Randy Fisher, MA, BJ,  is a communications and market research professional with experience in business writing, customer interviewing, media relations and storytelling. His experience in customer discovery and validation and education helps firms accelerate adoption and rapidly penetrate new markets.https://www.linkedin.com/in/customerdiscoverypros/  He teaches business and proposal writing and interview skills at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He began his career in Vancouver and worked as a business journalist with The Globe and Mail, Financial Post and CBC Radio.

  • 28 May 2020 by Randy Fisher

     

    A conversation with Rahul Samant, CEO of Rehabtronics

     

    Tell me about yourself and your journey to this point. How did you decide to start the company? 

    I became involved with Rehabtronics, as I longed to once again build a product, to transform discovery into products. I saw an opportunity to have a tremendous impact on the quality of life of people with mobility deficits. I am the CEO of the company and have increased revenues by 70%. I have guided the company into cash-flow positive situation and with 2 consecutive profitable years. 

    Rehabtronics is a spinoff of the University of Alberta’s Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute. It was started to bring state-of-the-art neural interfacing and neural rehabilitation technologies into clinical practice. Our vision has always been that technology-driven innovation will drive sustainable healthcare by more efficiently delivering better outcomes to more patients. Our mission has been to bring state-of-the art neuroscience technology into rehabilitation and expand the clinical settings in which these medical technologies are used. In other words, go beyond the rehabilitation clinic into the home and acute care settings.
    Our first product, the ReJoyce was among the first products to bring gaming and computer-based functional assessment to the world. We followed up the ReTouch, the world’s first touchscreen-based rehabilitation for cognitive, visual, and motor rehabilitation. ReGrasp is a neural prosthetic that restores grasping function (opening and closing the hand). Our products are used by over 500 clinics around the world.

    We became increasingly aware of pressure injuries and the enormous impact they have on health care while working with the patients that use our products - those with impaired mobility and sensation such as people with chronic stroke or spinal cord injury -

    Pressure injuries are among one of the greatest unmet medical needs in health care today. It’s a huge problem – for example, in the US, pressure injuries kill an estimated 60,000 people each year - almost as many as diabetes.

    Pressure injuries are prevalent in all health care settings: from critical care and home care to long-term care. Indeed, 25% of patients in healthcare facilities have a pressure injury. They are among the most common, expensive and deadly hospital acquired illnesses. Despite the impact of pressure injuries, there has been no innovation in this space in 100 years.

    While our understanding of the patho-physiology of pressure injuries has advanced, our approaches to preventing them has not.  21st science explains that pressure injuries form as a result of ischemia and tissue deformation. 

    We realized that the neural interfacing technology platform used in our ReGrasp Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) to restore motor function (based on research at the University of Alberta) - could also be used to prevent pressure injuries.

    We now have a patented technology called Intermittent Electrical Stimulation (IES). We can alter the pathophysiology of pressure injuries by increasing tissue oxygenation and preventing deleterious tissue deformation. No other pressure injury prevention technology does this.

    Our vision is technology-driven sustainable transformation in health care. Our mission is to use neuroscience technology to eliminate deadly pressure injuries.

     

    Who are your Customers / Prospective Customers - What do they do?

    Pressure injuries are among the most common, expensive and deadly medical complications. In the US, they kill over 60,000 people every year and cost the health care system an estimate $27 B each year. They are seen in all health care settings - critical, acute, rehabilitation, long-term, and home care.

    Pressure injuries are one of the most common hospital-acquired injury. Estimates of pressure injury incidences in hospitals can be as high as 30% in critical care. The average treatment cost of pressure injury is over $30,000. That is if the patient survives - 70% of those that develop a so-called full-thickness pressure injury in a hospital will die within 6 months.

    In the US, hospitals are not reimbursed for hospital-acquired pressure injury expenses - hospitals must pay for the treatment of pressure injuries acquired in their facility. According to the Agency for Quality Health Research (AJRQ), nearly 2.4% of all hospital discharges in the US developed a hospital-acquired pressure injury (HAPI) in 2016.

    It is the only hospital-acquired condition to increase in incidence. It is estimated that HAPIs costs US hospitals $11B per year. Hospitals need more effective means of preventing hospital-acquired pressure injuries in order to capture these costs. For example, a 300-bed hospital in the US will see over 16,000 admissions, nearly 400 HAPI events, and spend approx $10MM+ on treatment.

    Our focus will be in acute and critical care where nearly 30% of patients will develop a pressure injury iin 4-7 days. Moreover, HAPIs are deadly in a a population of critically-ill patients.

     

    What Solution / Technology are you using to meet your Customers’ needs? 

     Our patented Intermittent Electrical Stimulation (IES).  technology uses a proprietary electrical stimulation protocol to increase and maintain tissue oxygenation - a key factor in the formation of pressure injuries. Animal studies have shown that IES reduces injury volume by 80%. Human studies have demonstrated that IES increases tissue oxygenation by as much as 28% and maintains tissue oxygenation at 20% above baseline. 

    In Alberta, IES was tested on 68 patients – all of whom were considered at-risk of developing a pressure ulcer. IES was found to be easy-to-use by nurses; and easy to deploy (even in complex environments such as critical and acute care). Most importantly, no pressure injuries were observed in any of the 68 high risk patients.

     

    What differentiates your company from the competition?

    Despite the magnitude of the problem, there has been very little technology innovation in pressure ulcer prevention. While the market is mature and there are many products in this space, they invariably fall into one of two approaches: (1) Patient Turning (developed in 1800s); or (2) Pressure Redistribution Mattress (mid-1900s)

    21st century modern science has enabled us to have a much better understanding of how pressure injuries form.

    They start deep inside tissue as a deep tissue injury (DTI). As pressure is applied to soft tissue, especially over bony-prominences, it deforms the tissue and restricts blood-flow - causing ischemia. In as little as 1 hour, a DTI begins to form. Over the next several days, the DTI grows from the inside out until it breaks the skin.

    In either case, there are no products on the market that prevent pressure ulcers by altering the pathophysiology of ischemia and mechanical stress and promoting blood circulation, tissue oxygenation and tissue reformation. Patient Turning - where nurses turn patients every 2 hours to temporarily relieve pressure, was first started in the 1850s. The practice continues to today. However, it requires significant nursing time (i.e., at least 2 nurses 10 minutes every 2 hours and as many as 5 nurses 30 min every 2 hours).

     

    It is also the Top Cause of work-related injuries to professional nursing staff.

    Relieving the pressure on the patient, while helpful, is not sufficient to restore health oxygenation to the tissue at risk. Additionally, tissue oxygenation can become depleted in a matter of minutes and a pressure ulcer may develop in less than 1 hour.

    Pressure redistribution is achieved by using mattresses made of foam, air or gel. The mattresses spread (redistribute) the pressure. However, like with Patient Turning, this fails to bring blood, oxygen and nutrients into the tissue.

    These beds are very expensive, and many hospitals rent them. Moreover, a specialized bed can often take days to arrive. In the meantime, the patient has already developed a pressure injury – creating a painful, expensive and difficult problem to solve for all involved: the patient, nursing staff and the hospital.

     

    Randy Fisher, MA, BJ,  is a communications and market research professional with experience in business writing, customer interviewing, media relations and storytelling. His experience in customer discovery and validation and education helps firms accelerate adoption and rapidly penetrate new markets. https://www.linkedin.com/in/customerdiscoverypros/ He teaches business and proposal writing and interview skills at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He began his career in Vancouver and worked as a business journalist with The Globe and Mail, Financial Post and CBC Radio.

  • 28 May 2020 by Randy Fisher

    PathMaker’s MyoRegulator device for the treatment of muscle spasticity. 


    A conversation with Nader Yaghoubi, President, CEO and Co-Founder of PathMaker Neurosystems

     

    Tell me about yourself and your journey to this point. How did you decide to start the company?

    I graduated from the combined MD/PhD degree program at Boston University School of Medicine, and did my Ph.D. in Neuropharmacology, where my dissertational work was in single-cell electrophysiology and ligand-gated ion channels.

    After entering the surgical residency program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, I realized my real interests were for early-stage technology development. I pivoted to a track where I’ve been focused on early-stage investing and company formation – I’ve been doing that for 20 years.

    Along the way, I met Dr. Zaghloul Ahmed, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Physical Therapy at City University of New York. He was pioneering breakthrough multi-site neuromodulation techniques for the treatment of serious neurological conditions. I saw how his revolutionary approach could change the standard of care for millions of patients worldwide.

    We founded PathMaker Neurosystems to bring this non-invasive, painless technology to patients who need it - and who are otherwise forced to rely on uncomfortable, invasive, unsafe and unreliable treatment options. We recently decoded the molecular mechanism of action of our multi-site stimulation technology, a world-first across all neuromodulation technologies.

    Our first product, MyoRegulator®, is the world’s first neuromodulation device for the non-invasive treatment of spasticity, a debilitating condition found in people with SCI, stroke, multiple sclerosis, brain injury and cerebral palsy.

    Last year, we published our first human feasibility study showing clinical efficacy in post-stroke patients. We are working to bring this product to market as soon as possible.

    Our second device, ALSuppressor™, is the first neuromodulation device for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and represents a groundbreaking advancement in the treatment of this fatal neurodegenerative disease.

    PathMaker Neurosystems is making strides in understanding and improving the treatment of serious neurological disorders. It is leading the way towards the wide use of non-invasive neuromodulation systems that replace the need for drugs or surgery.

     

    Who are your Customers / Prospective Customers - What do they do?

    Our devices will be used by clinicians in hospitals, medical offices and rehabilitation or spasticity clinics. They treat patients with neurological disorders such as spasticity with limited and often non-optimal treatment options. The first line of treatment consists of either oral medications (baclofen, tizanidine) or botulinum neurotoxin injections, which often have significant undesirable effects. Other more invasive treatments options include: implantation of an intrathecal baclofen pump, or surgical procedures that cut tendons or nerves. None of these treatment options are simultaneously painless, non-invasive and efficacious. We provide clinicians with a strong alternative to drugs or surgery with our non-invasive neuromodulation products, so they can take care of their patients without these drawbacks.

     

    What Solution / Technology are you using to meet your Customers’ needs?

    Our breakthrough non-invasive neuromodulation technology was originally developed by Dr. Zaghloul Ahmed. We demonstrated its efficacy in a mouse model of spasticity and described the molecular mechanism behind its effects in a mouse model of spinal cord injury.

    In 2019 we published the results of a pilot trial in upper-limb post-stroke spasticity, and showed that five consecutive 20-minute daily treatments with MyoRegulator® significantly lowered spasticity levels and improved motor function for up to five weeks after the end of treatment.

    Today, a pivotal randomized, sham-controlled European trial is ongoing at the Paris Brain Institute and sponsored by INSERM. Clinicians and physicians want to see proof of efficacy and safety before adopting a new treatment into their practice, so we are building a strong case for our technology before entering the market.

     

    What differentiates your company from the competition?

    PathMaker Neurosystems has pioneered a new field of multi-site neuromodulation.  We have 35 issued patents protecting our technology and products globally.  We are the only company developing non-invasive neuromodulation products for the treatment of spasticity and ALS. The best opportunities are coming to us organically by stakeholders who are realizing who realize the impact of our current and future products. They understand the commercialization potential and the paradigm-shift in clinical practice.

     

    Randy Fisher, MA, BJ,  is a communications and market research professional with experience in business writing, customer interviewing, media relations and storytelling. His experience in customer discovery and validation and education helps firms accelerate adoption and rapidly penetrate new markets.https://www.linkedin.com/in/customerdiscoverypros/ He teaches business and proposal writing and interview skills at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He began his career in Vancouver and worked as a business journalist with The Globe and Mail, Financial Post and CBC Radio.