To assist plastic surgeons that have difficulty in covering large wounds with limited healthy skin or for skin grafting (skin transplantation surgeries) to treat serious burn wounds, Pacify Medical Technologies has developed a patent-pending skin spray gun that enables large wound coverage by spraying stamp-sized skin. Pacify Medical was part of Cohort 10 of the Nexus Incubator program. Saiprasad Poyarekar, Founder and CEO, Pacify Medical stated, “The skin spray gun works with a single click of a button”. Poyarekar’s solution is allegedly more effective than current skin grafting methods since it takes much less time to heal and is more cost-effective. To explain the edge Pacify Medical’s invention has over traditional grafting methods. Allegedly, the healing process is much faster, so patients can be discharged mere days after their surgery, avoiding potentially weeks of hospitalisation, which translates to exorbitant hospitalisation fees.
Recently, the startup was awarded a grant of 9,000 USD under the TIDE 2.0 program of the MeitY Startup Hub. Poyarekar mentioned that the grant is helping them accelerate the development process and it will even allow them to hire more engineers that are crucial for R&D, which will ultimately lead to a pathway to commercialisation. As of now, clinical validation and trials are underway and the startup tells us that the results will be disclosed post trials. The startup is also supported by a few other reputed organisations such as the Biomedical Engineering and Technology Innovation Centre (BETiC Lab), the Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE IIT – Bombay), Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), and the Ministry of Defence. We spoke to Saiprasad Poyarekar to gain further insights into the startup and the technology.
Digit: How does your patent-pending skin spray gun technology work and is it more effective than current skin grafting methods? And how?
Saiprasad Poyarekar: The skin spray gun works by a single click of the button, the surgeons graft a stamp size skin graft, mince it and load the skin solution into the device and ready to operate. Yes, the device is more effective than current skin grafting methods. To understand the how part, we should first understand the skin expansion ratio. Skin expansion ratio is how long the skin can be stretched so that it can cover wound, in the skin transplantation surgery, higher the skin expansion its better, so surgeons need to graft less skin to cover large wound. The current skin grafting device gives an expansion of 1:4-1:6 times, whereas by skin spray gun gives much more than the current device and automation of the process, so manual effort and time is save for the critical surgical procedure. Patients will be discharge from the hospital within days, avoiding generally painful skin graft surgeries and potentially weeks of hospitalization.
Pacify Medical: Skin spray gun technology
Digit: Is this novel approach more or less suited to particular kind of burns?
Saiprasad Poyarekar: The novel approach is suited for large surface burns, especially for second-degree burn and above, where the available healthy skin for transplantation is limited.
Digit: Pacify Medical recently received a grant of USD 9K to developed the skin spray gun as part of the TIDE 2.0 program of the MeitY Startup Hub. How has this helped accelerate R&D?
Saiprasad Poyarekar: We feel privileged to get selected for TIDE 2.0, under MeitY Startup Hub, this grant will help us to accelerate the development process, it help hire more engineers for the R&D and improve our resources for pursuing the pathway to commercialization.
Digit: Have any trials been conducted so far? If so, what are the results of the trials and how much clinical data has been accumulated?
Saiprasad Poyarekar: The clinical validation and trials are under process and results will be disclose at the end of the trials.
Digit: What was the inspiration for this idea? Australian surgeon, Fiona Wood, did come out with a similar kit dubbed ReCell. Does your innovation have any differentiating factor when compared to ReCell? If so, please elaborate.
Saiprasad Poyarekar: Skin spraying have been in research and use for some time elsewhere, Australian Surgeon, Dr Fiona Wood Recell spray-on-skin device that was first used in 2002 to heal burn victims of the Bali terrorist attack. Dr Wood’s method uses an aerosol system to spray on cultured skin cells. We are using different method, we don’t use cultured skin cells like Dr Woods method. We have patent pending device. The inspiration for the idea started from the problem.
Being a curious engineer turn product designer, I have experience building product which solves the problems, this time I thoughts of developing essential products, thus I joined BETiC as a full-time researcher at COEP in June 2017, around this time Dr. Nikhil Panse ,Plastic Surgeon from Sassoon General Hospital suggested me to explore a possible solution for treating a large burn wound. This could solve the problem of limited healthy skin to cover the wound in case of emergency, so the patient’s treatment process will be improved.
I then started exploring the process of skin of grafting, he thoroughly understood the medical term, anatomy of skin, etc. and the current process of skin grafting and skin meshing by watching the videos and he visited the hospital to observe the surgeries perform by Dr. Nikhil and his team, I understood that large burn wounds with limited donor areas for skin grafting needed considerably significant expansion than what was currently available and was being performed. I also understood the current meshing patterns and the machines available for meshing of the skin graft, and realised that to go beyond the expansion ratios of currently available meshers, I needed to think of some other options. That how idea of skin spray arise.
Digit: Could you share some of the biggest takeaways from your association with the Nexus Incubator?
Saiprasad Poyarekar: Nexus helped us understand the nuts & bolts of how-to commercialize the technology. Nexus help me to nourish with the support and knowledge needed to be successful.
Nexus Startup Hub is now accepting applications from Indian startups for its 11th Cohort (pre-incubation program) Click here to send in your application.