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Indian medical devices start-ups face challenges of competition and user acceptance: Expert

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Monday, September 25, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Indian medical devices start-ups are facing the challenges of competition and user acceptance. Creating awareness about the device and educating patients and physicians about its benefits is also a major task.

According to Jaideep Tiwari, founder & CEO, BramhAnsh Technologies, succeeding in the market with a medical grade device can be challenging due to several factors. Establishing efficient distribution channels and partnering with healthcare providers are seen difficult. Moreover, the biggest indirect competitor for a medical device company is home remedies which might cure or treat. This makes the market so resistant that people prefer to first check the household cure before going for a medical device like ours.

BramhAnsh Technologies developed Migraelief utilizing sound waves for nervous system stimulation to treat migraine.  The company was granted a patent for the development of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), and the successful completion of over 500 human trials. It obtained regulatory clearances, including CE, ISO 13485, and CDSCO. It conducted a comprehensive market research, and successfully launched the product.

Indian medical market is primarily dominated by medicines as a solution for migraine treatment. There is considerable reluctance to purchase a device making scale-up much more difficult. In the case of Migraelief, the company’s clinical investigational plan (CIP) was an open-label, single arm, multi-centre, controlled study. The objective was to assess the safety and efficacy of Migraelief in reducing the frequency, duration and intensity of migraine attacks, said Tiwari.

Globally over 700 million people suffer sleep problems, migraines, and stress.  In this background, Tiwari said, “Our Migraelief is the first wearable migraine treatment product which uses neuromodulation method. This medical-grade device is an innovation in the medtech industry, offering an alternative to pharmaceuticals that provides meaningful relief to those affected by migraines. In fact, it proved to bring in relief to patients who had not found success with other migraine treatments,” Tiwari told Pharmabiz in an email.

The company has been funded since its inception in 2018 where it was the winner of Smart India Hackathon AICTE  award of Rs. 11 lakhs. As the finalist of NBEC C-CAMP NIDHI EIR , it received Rs. 4 lakh at IIM Calcutta. In 2020, Technology Indian Patent Granted NIDHI PRAYAS Rs. 10 lakh at KIET-TBI Ghaziabad. In 2021, MEITY EIR, it received Rs. 4 lakh + SINE Rs. 2.7 lakh at IIT Bombay. Last year under the BIRAC-BIG and + AGC under the Jan Care Grant of IKP Hyderabad it got Rs. 60 lakh. It also was among the top 10 startups to represent India in June this year at the Viva Tech Startup Summit, a government-backed event hosted by France.  

Going forward, the company has two products built on its patented sound wave technology for hypertension and hearing loss patients. One is Soonyam uses biofeedback to provide users with insights into their mind's activity, making it an essential tool for meditation and psychological counselling. The other is the Bone Conducting Hearing Aid designed to address specific hearing losses where traditional hearing aids fall short.

India’s wearable devices market is poised for growth, driven by chronic disease management needs and technology integration. The awareness among medical professionals and the general population is that wearable devices are convenient tools to track various health parameters. Despite all the promising growth prospects, venture capitalists and private equity consider this industry as the graveyard of investment. On average, only one out of every 100 VCs that a company pitches to get converted and gets funding, said Tiwari.


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