Everyone is now aware of the importance of timely medical assistance after the COVID-19 pandemic. The countries that had poor medical facilities faced a lot of difficulties while the others could mitigate the pandemic more efficiently.
MedPrime Technologies is a healthcare technology company founded in 2014 by four IITB graduates with the goal of making healthcare accessible and affordable through innovation, digitization, and automation. The current focus is on microscopy, and we are enabling telepathology through the digitization of microscopy using smartphone and tablet technology.
Team Sociobits connected with the co-founder and CEO of MedPrime Technologies, Mr. Samrat Singh to know more about the company.
Team Sociobits: Would you share a little about yourself and tell us what inspired the idea of founding MedPrime Technologies?
Co-Founder: MedPrime Technologies is trying to make a difference in the healthcare ecosystem by making affordable and innovative healthcare solutions. We want to use telepathology, as it enables people to practice pathology from a distance using telecommunication services.
We (the co-founders) were pursuing MTech in Biomedical Engineering at IIT Bombay when we decided to start our own business. It was during the first year, that I approached the other founders with my idea for a low-cost IV drip monitoring system, later named InfuCheck. Since childhood, I have been keen on experimenting and developing new products, and InfuCheck was a product that I had conceptualized and put together after my personal experience as a caretaker in a hospital. None of us come from a business background, however, all of us were intrigued by the possibility of developing a product that could create a huge impact and commercialize it.
Another factor that boosted the spirit of entrepreneurship was the realization of how few Indian companies were actually developing medical equipment for and within India. In spite of completing Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering from one of the premier engineering institutes of India, students were being recruited into IT and consulting jobs, which indicated the lack of research, development, and manufacturing of medical devices within India. This motivated all of us to start our own company that would manufacture medical equipment within India, that was tailored to the needs of the Indian population, and potentially other developing countries.
Team Sociobits: What issues are you addressing through MedPrime Technologies?
Co-Founder: As of now, Indian markets are flooded with imported and expensive products with a myriad of features that are either not needed, or are not suited to the Indian demographic, socio-economic, cultural, geographical, or physiological characteristics, and unnecessarily increase the cost of treatment. One of our goals was to address this issue in any way possible.
There are only 5500 active practising pathologists in India and over 3 lakh pathology labs in India. The number of pathologists are steadily declining, even on a global level.
There are only 5500 active practicing pathologists in India and over 3 lakh pathology labs in India. The number of pathologists is steadily declining, even on a global level. These numbers are not sufficient to address the increasing disease burden. As a result, technicians handle most samples and test reports. In 2018, a Supreme Court ruling declared that all patient test reports should be signed off by M.D. Pathology holders. However, this had to be revised in 2019 due to lack of feasibility and the possibility of pathologists lending out their digital signatures to hundreds of labs. The practical solution to address this huge need is telepathology and automation of microscopy and we are working to provide these solutions.
Team Sociobits: Since 2014, how has your journey with MedPrime been so far?
Co-Founder: There were many ups and downs during our journey. During this course of time, we successfully launched our Cilika series of microscopes. We have more than 500 installations across India. Phase 1 development of our automated series of microscopes (Micalys) has been completed and we are conducting beta trials for certain telepathology applications of Micalys.
Team Sociobits: Who are the potential competitors of your company and why would users choose you?
Co-Founder: The major competitors for Cilika are conventional benchtop microscopes commonly used for pathology which are bulky and not suitable for field use. These are the most widely used microscopes for medical diagnosis and require additional setup comprising of a camera mount and a computer to capture the images or view samples digitally. However, they are majorly used for viewing samples through the binoculars only, due to a reduced field of view in the digital mode. Therefore, they are not comfortable for long-term use due to strain on the eyes and neck.
There are a few portable microscopes such as Steindorff Field Scope, Evolution Brightfield Portable Microscope, or the Newton Nm1 Professional Grade Portable Microscope (imported) which are compact versions of conventional microscopes. Other mobile phone microscopes and attachments that convert mobile phones to microscopy devices do not provide the magnification or resolution required for disease diagnosis and therefore can not be included as competitors.
Cilika is unique due to its ability to provide high magnification diagnostic quality imaging equivalent to standard pathology microscopes while being highly portable and robust and also allowing capture, storage and transfer of microscopic images. Cilika is the only digital microscope that allows capturing of the sample image of an area equivalent to what would be observed through the binocular eyepiece in a conventional microscope. All existing microscopes with digital setup allow capture of images of greatly reduced fields and hence causes loss of information as compared to what is observed through the binoculars.
This has been possible by complete redesigning of the optical magnification system while retaining the image quality and stability of benchtop microscopes. In addition, the ergonomic viewing angle of the tablet display makes it highly comfortable for long-term use. The Cilika application also provides a myriad of features that allows color correction, brightness, exposures, measurements, cell counting, annotations, and labeling, which completely eliminates the need for a PC for post-processing of captured images. With all these features, prices are competitive with those of Olympus, Nikon, and Zeiss microscopes.
“This year we are focusing to complete the Beta testing of our automated version of the microscope named Micalys. This will help pathologists with telepathology and whole slide imaging.”-Mr. Samrat Singh, CEO of MedPrime Technologies
The addition of image processing algorithms for automated diagnosis in the near future will also provide a strong competitive advantage as compared to other digital microscopes that may try to enter the market.
Team Sociobits: What are your immediate goals and what is your road map for the future?
Co-Founder: This year we are focusing to complete the Beta testing of our automated version of the microscope named Micalys. This will help pathologists with telepathology and whole slide imaging.
We are working to incorporate a machine-learning algorithm to automate some tedious tasks like WBC differentiation. Apart from this, we are also developing AI-based applications for urine and sperm. Our goal is to be the market leader in the field of digital microscopy.
MedPrime wants to reduce the cost of treatment in India by bringing telepathology and automation of microscopes into the picture. It is set to make a difference in the medical devices world by providing cost-effective solutions.