Villgro is excited to announce its latest incubatee. Here, Yostra Labs co-founder Vinayak Nandalike talks about the company and its work to screen and treat diabetes:
What does your company do?
We are a healthcare technology firm, pioneering smart innovations to make healthcare more effective, affordable and sustainable for the cost sensitive developing market.
Diabetes is one of our focus areas and our team is working on ‘Sparsh’, a diagnostic device for screening of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy and ‘Kadam’, a therapeutic device for the treatment of Diabetic Foot Ulcer, both of which have far reaching impact on public health.
How did it come about?
According to the International Diabetes Federation, worldwide, 415 million people have diabetes, with 75% of them living in lower- and middle-income countries. Diabetes can lead to several complications, one among which is Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy. Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy causes nerve damage in hands, arms and legs. Approximately 30% of the diabetic population in low- and middle-income countries suffers from Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy – 37 million patients with DPN in 2015 will swell to 69 million patients by 2040. Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy results in loss of sensation and related problems can make the patient prone to diabetic foot ulcers, which if left untreated can lead to amputation. Unfortunately, every 30 seconds a leg is lost somewhere in the world due to diabetes.
What if we could provide diabetic patients with accessible and affordable screening, and hospitals with portable medical device along with low capital investment for screening Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy?
‘Sparsh’ was conceptualized at the CAMTech Diabetes Hack-a-thon, 2015. Post the hack-a-thon, we have performed clinical need validation and prototyped the product. We are currently in the clinical validation phase.
We are also working on a device for the treatment of Diabetic Foot Ulcer – Kadam, which enables faster healing of chronic ulcers.
Why are you excited about this space?
India has approximately 69 million diabetic patients. With a growing diabetic population, there is a critical need for affordable diagnostic devices to enable mass screening of diabetic patients for Peripheral Neuropathy. At the same time, there is a need for affordable treatment options for Diabetic Foot Ulcers.
Both ‘Sparsh’ and ‘Kadam’ can enable accessible and affordable healthcare for diabetic patients with complications of Peripheral Neuropathy.
What is innovative about your service?
Conventional Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy screening devices available in the market are bulky, not portable, expensive, and need trained healthcare workers to operate the device. Compared to them, ‘Sparsh’ has been developed specifically to enable mass screening of diabetic patients at primary and secondary healthcare centres and to resource poor settings.
‘Kadam’ on the other hand, is significantly cost effective and accessible in comparison to other treatment methods such as Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) and Topical Oxygen Therapy (TOT), and can be operated with minimum resources. Hence, the treatment is accessible to patients from all socio-economic strata.
What is the impact you want to have?
Both ‘Sparsh’ and ‘Kadam’ have far reaching social impact providing greater healthcare access to low-income diabetic patients. ‘Sparsh’ will enable early diagnosis of DPN thus helping patients to manage it better and avoid complications. ‘Kadam’ can potentially prevent 2 lakh amputations per year in India.
What successes and challenges have you seen till now and what is next?
Both ‘Sparsh’ and ‘Kadam’ have successfully completed the prototyping phase and are currently undergoing clinical validation. Future challenges lie in the commercialization of the two products.
What keeps you motivated?
We are a highly motivated interdisciplinary team of clinicians, designers and engineers, brought together by the common goal of making a positive impact in affordable healthcare.
We are driven by our goal to prevent amputations resulting from complications of diabetes.
How do you think Villgro will help?
With Villgro we share the common goal of making healthcare affordable and accessible to low-income diabetic patients. We look forward to Villgro’s support on technical and business mentoring, access to collaborators, customers and investors.