“Lack of stan­dard­i­s­a­tion are ham­per­ing growth of Med-tech sec­tor”

Leo Mavely, Founder & CEO, Axio Bioso­lu­tions

BioSpectrum (India) - - BIO CONTENT - Leo Mavely, Founder & CEO, Axio Bioso­lu­tions

Es­tab­lished in 2008 in a start-up in­cu­ba­tor in Ahmed­abad, Axio Bioso­lu­tions Pvt Ltd to­day is a global name that uses in­no­va­tive med­i­cal tech­nol­ogy to cre­ate break­through prod­ucts and im­prove peo­ple’s lives. The com­pany stepped into the health­care mar­ket with one sin­gle mis­sion: To SAVE, IM­PROVE and TOUCH LIVES of civil­ian and mil­i­tary vic­tims from un­con­trolled haem­or­rhage.The prod­ucts are based on an em­pa­thetic un­der­stand­ing of real prob­lems in the med­i­cal space with solutions that have wide ap­pli­ca­tions. It all started when founder and now CEO of Axio, LeoMavely , while in col­lege, had a life chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence when he helped a road ac­ci­dent vic­tim bleed­ing pro­fusely from his in­juries. It was then that he recog­nised the need to de­velop a prod­uct that can help ac­ci­dent vic­tims from trau­matic bleed­ing and save lives.

Nearly a decade later, Axio has to­day be­come a unique tech­nol­ogy-led-health­care com­pany from In­dia that is rev­o­lu­tion­is­ing the ‘ad­vanced wound care mar­ket’ across the globe. With par­ent com­pany, Ad­vamed­ica Inc, based at Mas­sachusetts, United States, Axio has been funded by mar­quee in­vestors such as Ratan Tata Ac­cel Part­ners, and IDG Ven­tures.

Axio de­vel­oped an in­no­va­tive so­lu­tion that could re­duce the mor­tal­ity rate due to trau­matic bleed­ing and save pre­cious lives. The com­pany’s prod­ucts are cur­rently be­ing used by Mil­i­tary, Hos­pi­tals, Am­bu­lance ser­vices, In­dus­tries, Re­lief aid and are part of the stan­dard field kit of de­fence forces in many coun­tries. Its patented prod­uct, Ax­io­stat, is US FDA and CE ap­proved and has suc­cess­fully com­pleted a

120 pa­tient clin­i­cal study con­ducted by the MIMS Hos­pi­tal in its am­bu­la­tory ser­vices. With Axio, In­dia is lead­ing the way into the af­ford­able, in­no­va­tive and ef­fec­tive health­care mar­ket. In an in­ter­ac­tion with BioSpec­trum, LeoMavely, CEO of Axio shares his views about the trends and chal­lenges be­fore the Hae­mo­stat mar­ket in In­dia. Edited ex­cerpts;

Axio com­pleted 10 years. What were the is­sues you faced then and what are is­sues you face now?

When I started Axio Bioso­lu­tions right af­ter my col­lege in 2008, glob­ally mar­kets were reel­ing un­der re­ces­sion. There weren’t many fund­ing av­enues nor was there clar­ity on reg­u­la­tion. Due to this, it took us many years to bring our prod­uct to mar­ket.

How­ever, in past 5 years, there has been a lot of in­ter­est in med-tech and life sciences. We were able to raise mul­ti­ple rounds of fund­ing and get reg­u­la­tory ap­proval in Europe and USA. Now, most chal­lenges are re­lated to scal­ing up and expansion. The Axio team has grown to al­most 100 peo­ple and mak­ing sure all stay con­nected to one vi­sion is chal­leng­ing.

What is the cur­rent strength of your R&D team? What is the cur­rent fo­cus of your R&D?

We have a strong R&D team con­sist­ing of 12 mem­bers with in­ter-dis­ci­plinary skill sets. The team has peo­ple from var­i­ous back­grounds in­clud­ing pharma, chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing, bio­ma­te­ri­als ex­per­tise, in­dus­trial de­sign­ers, and prod­uct spe­cial­ists among oth­ers. The R&D team is led by Dr Ki­ran Son­aje who has over 12 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in bio­ma­te­ri­als and poly­meric drug de­liv­ery sys­tems. At the core, we are a spe­cialised bio­ma­te­ri­als com­pany and our R&D is fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing prod­ucts for Wound man­age­ment, Drug de­liv­ery, and also solutions for con­sumer health care.

How many prod­ucts has Axio de­vel­oped in these years and how much in­vest­ment have gone into de­vel­op­ing the prod­ucts?

Cur­rently we have a range of hemo­static prod­ucts tar­get­ing var­i­ous con­di­tions in in­ter­ven­tional car­di­ol­ogy, in­ter­ven­tional ra­di­ol­ogy, hemo-dial­y­sis, emer­gency trauma, mil­i­tary trauma and den­tal. These are first of its kind prod­ucts in In­dia and are ap­proved by USFDA & Euro­pean CE mark. Apart from prod­ucts in mar­ket, we have also de­vel­oped wound care prod­ucts for sur­gi­cal sites, donor graft sites, di­a­betic foot etc. These are cur­rently un­der limited pilot eval­u­a­tion and will soon be made

avail­able in the mar­ket. Our R&D in­vest­ments are usu­ally 8-10 per cent of to­tal fund raise.

How many patents are granted to your firm till now? How many are pipe­line?

We have close to 10 patents in var­i­ous stages of grant and eval­u­a­tion. We have an­other 5 patents in pipe­line.

What are the USPs of your prod­ucts in the mar­ket?

We are the first com­pany to bring out a chi­tosan haemo­static prod­uct with 100% ac­tive in­gre­di­ent. Our prod­uct, Ax­io­stat, is ready to use and can be cut to suit dif­fer­ent wound sizes. It is easy to ap­ply and take off, and more im­por­tantly can be used by a non- med­i­cal first re­spon­der. Ax­io­stat is unique in its de­sign as a bio-ad­he­sive wound dress­ing. The mo­ment it is ap­plied to an open wound, it re­acts with the neg­a­tively charged blood and clots the blood to stop bleed­ing, within sec­onds. Re­mov­ing Ax­io­stat from the wound is also ex­tremely sim­ple. All one has to do is ap­ply saline or wa­ter. Ax­io­stat ab­sorbs the wa­ter to be­come a gel like sub­stance that can be eas­ily peeled off.

By en­ter­ing into part­ner­ships with gov­ern­ment and pri­vate play­ers for sup­ply­ing hae­mo­stat prod­ucts and hav­ing op­er­a­tion in USA, is your firm now fo­cus­ing on mar­ket expansion? Be­sides In­dia which are the mar­kets you will be look­ing to fo­cus in the days to come?

Axio cur­rently has a pres­ence in over 12 coun­tries. How­ever, our pri­mary fo­cus is In­dia. We ex­pect Ax­io­stat to change the par­a­digm of pri­mary acute care in the wound space. We are work­ing with all ma­jor cor­po­rate hos­pi­tals, gov­ern­ment hos­pi­tals and al­most all elite armed forces in the coun­try. We are also very ac­tive in MENA, South-east Asia and parts of Europe.

There are over 50 com­pa­nies in this space both lo­cal and MNCs. How do you see com­pe­ti­tion in the mar­ket?

The Hae­mo­stat mar­ket is over $2.5 bil­lion, glob­ally. How­ever, there are only 4-5 com­pa­nies world­wide who have suc­ceeded in com­mer­cial­is­ing a hae­mo­stat ca­pa­ble of con­trol­ling ar­te­rial bleed­ing. Axio Bioso­lu­tions is one of them. Cur­rently in In­dia, there are no di­rect com­peti­tors to our prod­uct, Ax­io­stat. There are few who make sim­i­lar claims but don’t have any clin­i­cal ev­i­dence or reg­u­la­tory ap­provals. That said, we pre­fer to have com­pe­ti­tion in this seg­ment as we be­lieve it would cre­ate more aware­ness about such an acute prob­lem of peo­ple suc­cumb­ing to in­juries due to un­con­trol­lable bleed­ing.

What are chal­lenges be­fore the sec­tor in In­dia?

Med-tech is the fastest grow­ing in­dus­try in In­dia. There are many start-ups try­ing to bring in very novel de­vices and, I think, we will def­i­nitely see more of it in the com­ing years. How­ever, lack of proper reg­u­la­tion, un­cer­tainty in poli­cies and lack of stan­dard­i­s­a­tion are ham­per­ing the growth of this sec­tor.

What are the lat­est trends in the global hae­mo­stat mar­ket and In­dia in par­tic­u­lar?

The hae­mo­stat mar­ket usu­ally gets a novel prod­uct once in 10 years. Cur­rently chi­tosan and such polysac­cha­ride based prod­ucts are pop­u­lar. There has been more aware­ness in the mar­ket over last few years. In the US, the White House has launched a STOP THE BLEED cam­paign to help vic­tims of gun vi­o­lence get im­me­di­ate help. As bleed­ing out from gun­shot wounds has been the ma­jor killer in mass shoot­ings in the US, they launched this ini­tia­tive to train the pub­lic and pre­pare them to face such si­t­u­a­tions, if ever needed. We did a sim­i­lar cam­paign in March 2018 in many cities in In­dia. As part our ini­tia­tive, we part­nered with ma­jor hos­pi­tals across In­dia, and pro­vided ex­ten­sive train­ing to doc­tors, nurses and para­medic staff in using Ax­io­stat. Our aim is not only to train hos­pi­tal and para­medic staff on how to stop un­con­trol­lable bleed­ing, but also the pub­lic be­cause ac­ci­dents can hap­pen any­where, at any time. We will be do­ing more cam­paigns like this to cre­ate aware­ness and save max­i­mum lives.

What is the rev­enue tar­get you have in mind to touch by 2023 from the cur­rent the sales?

We ex­pect to hit Rs 250-300 crore run rate by 2023.

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