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Unmet Needs, Value Proposals, Technical Feasibility, Team Strengths, Commercial Potential: Key Parameters for Financial Assistance from BIRAC

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Dr. Manish Diwan, Head – Talks about BIRAC’s criteria for startup selection and financing in interaction with Strategic Partnerships and Entrepreneurship Development, BIRAC, Government of India Biotechnology Division, Viveka Roychowdhury

What are BIRAC’s criteria for choosing startup and funding ideas in the healthcare sector?

BIRAC focuses on start-ups working to meet unmet needs through the development of globally competent and affordable solutions based on technology with commercial potential. Start-ups can get financial support from BIRAC throughout the value chain, from conception to proof of concept, minimal viable prototype to validation, pilot to manufacturing. Unmet needs, value propositions, technical feasibility, team strength, and commercialization potential are key parameters used in the competitive assessment of BIRAC’s financial assistance applications.

Why was Cardea Biomedical Technologies handheld ECG device chosen? What are the gaps in the public health ecosystem that devices address, especially those highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

This handheld ECG device by Cardea Biomedical Technologies was selected for support by BIRAC because it operates in a low resource configuration and provides an accessible, affordable, high quality solution. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is on the rise in the country, and ECG screening is clinically useful for early diagnosis of CVD. The device was named by its founder an accurate electrocardiogram (ATOM) on mobile. This device can also be used on a daily basis to check ECG, especially in relation to the current status of COVID-19.

ATOM ECG is a product for monitoring the heart health of COVID-19 patients and patients after COVID19. A regular 12-lead ECG is essential to check for myocardial inflammation. For Covid19 patients, when ECG is performed in the COVID ward, the ECG paper becomes contaminated with the virus, making it more likely to be a carrier of the virus for cardiologists and caregivers. With ATOM ECG, there are no paper requirements and you can use applications such as WhatsApp and Email to instantly and securely send your ECG to a cardiologist.

Learn about device behavior and its USP compared to handheld ECG devices on the market.

ATOM has the potential to record medical grade 12-lead simultaneous ECGs on low-cost smartphones. A low-cost, portable, compact device. With a Bluetooth connection between hardware and mobile, sending ECG PDF files recorded in the ATOM app is easily performed via messaging services such as WhatsApp or email to a cardiologist and can be consulted immediately by phone. increase.

ATOM ECG comes with a machine learning (ML) algorithm that runs instantly on the smartphone itself to identify some heart abnormalities. This gives ATOM the differentiated advantage of being able to provide the information it needs compared to its peers without having to send data to the cloud via Internet services. Mobile applications are extremely user-friendly while processing the most sophisticated algorithms to make it easy to retrieve noise-free data.

ATOM’s features also include an augmented reality-based electrode placement guidance system. This allows users to place electrodes with the desired clinical accuracy without the support of trained personnel.

These features make it an affordable, accessible and friendly solution for low resource configurations. It is especially relevant to rural areas and Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns where access to skilled health care providers and expertise may not be readily available.

What were the funds received by Cardea and the terms of the funds?

Cardea Biomedical Technologies has received BIRAC’s BIG grant. Under BIG, innovative ideas will be subsidized for Rs 50. This gives you access to incubation, high-end equipment, recruitment, professional involvement, and other opportunities. ATOM is also supported by the BIRAC-WISH (Wadhwani Initiative for Sustainable Healthcare Foundation) partnership program (both funding and promotion), and ATOMECG devices will be available for primary health care (PHC) between August 2018 and March 2019. Field validated in settings. Rajasthan.

How did the device work during the pilot rollout? In what kind of public health environment have you tried it?

The pilot study was conducted in two stages at PHC in Rajasthan between August 2018 and March 2019. The white paper was submitted by WISH and summarizes:

  • First phase aimed at estimating the sensitivity of ATOM in screening patients with cardiovascular disease: During the study period, a total of 463 patients received ECG at PHC using both ATOM and conventional ECG machines. received. A total of 451 pairs of ECGs (one each from ATOM and traditional ECGs) were analyzed by a senior cardiologist. The cardiologist reviewed all ECGs and reported the predefined clinical outcomes of each ECG.
  • The second stage aims to investigate the feasibility of ATOM as a screening tool in terms of cost, convenience and quality in setting PHC and community engagement. About 1000 patients received remote ECG (ATOM) at various PHCs.
  • Pilot studies have shown that ATOM’s sensitivity in screening patients with suspected cardiovascular disease (normal / abnormal ECG) is 92.71% compared to conventional gold standard ECG machines.
  • According to a pilot study, ATOM’s sensitivity when screening patients at the last mile for consultation with a cardiologist is 92.68% compared to a gold standard conventional ECG machine.

What other ideas for such innovations supported by BIRAC near the pilot stage?

There are more than 350 products from start-ups supported by BIRAC already on the market. BIRAC’s dedicated biotechnology showcase e-portal www.biotech-solutions.com features over 150 such biotechnology solutions. Approximately 20% of the solutions supported by BIRAC are currently in the validation stage.

Some of the healthcare innovations that BIRAC supports, such as those listed below, need to be field validated under the BIRAC-GCI-NASSCOM Healthcare Innovation Challenge “JAN Care”.

JANCare is a national innovation challenge to discover, design and expand healthcare innovation, and works with low resource settings, especially in rural and semi-urban environments. These innovations are built on technologies such as artificial intelligence, IoT, machine learning, big data, and analytics, leveraging telemedicine platforms to enhance access, quality, and affordability for last-mile healthcare delivery. To do.

Some of the other such innovations supported by BIRAC that are close to the pilot stage –

  • CervAstra (AIndra Systems): Affordable Computational Pathology-Based Systems for Detecting Cervical Cancer
  • Aum Voice Prosthesis (Innaumation Medical Devices Pvt. Ltd.): A simple, non-invasive, cost-effective device designed for laryngectomy patients. The patient can speak without the larynx.
  • Keyar (Janitri InnovationsPvt. Ltd.): Affordable, wearable, wireless fetal heart rate, uterine contraction, and maternal heart rate monitoring device

Unmet Needs, Value Proposals, Technical Feasibility, Team Strengths, Commercial Potential: Key Parameters for Financial Assistance from BIRAC

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