Doctor Olaf Ruskoke-Dierich is the first to point out that traditional eye, ear and skin examination devices simply do not meet the needs of today’s general practitioners or patients. The medical device sector is undergoing a massive transition from analogue to digital devices and services. Currently, there is a high demand from doctors for digital medical devices, however, the market is significantly underserved.
To address this issue, owner of JD Sanmed, Olaf has developed the iScope, which is an innovative and cost-effective solution to the problems he and his colleagues experience every day as General Practitioners.
“The iScope is an all-in-one digital device that combines three devices that doctors use to examine and perform minor procedures on patients’ ears, eyes and skin – the otoscope, ophthalmoscope and dermatoscope,” explains Olaf.
“It is a digital device that enables GP’s to examine and perform minor procedures on the patients’ ears, eyes and skin safely and more conveniently than with current instruments, while also supporting recording of digital images, and performing billable procedures that usually require a referral to a specialist.”
The iScope has been selected into the Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) and is currently in the technical prototyping stage. Olaf explains how investment opportunities are now available to be part of bringing this new, innovative medical device to the market. To attract the required investment of $150,000 – $400,000, JD Sanmed are running an equity crowdfunding campaign that at the time of writing already has 32 investors totalling $29,024.
“We are currently developing a technical prototype of the iScope with the MDPP and have market tested commercialisation plans in place,” says Olaf.
“This investment will support JD Sanmed’s next phase including further prototyping and product design.”
Dr Olaf has engaged Ontogo, a team of experienced medical device executives to guide the company through the commercialisation journey, however, he says that fundraising an early stage startup has not come without its share of challenges.
“I have had a long and successful career as a doctor, but looking at the medical device industry from a commercial aspect was new and challenging,” he explains.
“I’ve learnt that fundraising an early stage startup is tough as investors are reluctant to enter too early.
“Medical devices compared to other products have longer timelines to create return, even though once established they usually are strongly profitable.”
The iScope will offer a cost-effective solution to many of the financial problems faced in the medical industry. With Medicare rebates struggling now more than ever to keep up with practices increasing medical expenses, Olaf says the iScope will play a key role in ensuring practices remain financially viable.
“Doctors want the best for their patients; therefore, GPs are purchasing expensive and bulky ear microscopes or sending patients away to specialists,” he explains.
“Over the last decade, Medicare rebates for doctors are not keeping up with increasing expenses and has put a financial burden on practices.
“The need of being referred for procedures such as ear wax removal, or foreign body removal from the eye, costs patients extra time and money. GPs also miss out on revenue, particularly small GP practices who rely on these kinds of services to remain financially viable.”
Olaf says the next stage will include finalising the IP protection and undertaking more prototyping to reduce further risk. He hopes to have the iScope on the market in the next 2-3 years and has plans to export globally to ensure the product is readily available for GPs worldwide. However, he says investments are the key to ensuring the iScope can transition into the manufacturing stage.
“After this we will commence product development, product design, regulatory approval and transition to manufacturing to launch in the Australian market,” he continues.
“All this will be done by engaging Australian development houses and manufacturers.
“However, we need investment to make the iScope available to GPs and patients,” he explains.
“Our initial focus will be on the 440,000 GPs in Australia, US and Europe. For this selected market alone, there is a total addressable market of A$262 million per year, with there being the opportunity to expand to further countries and specialists in the future. The iScope uniquely meets critical unmet needs for GPs and is expected to have wide adoption.
“It truly is a digital revolution of medical devices.”
To learn more about the investment opportunity, you can visit their website, www.jdsanmed.com/invest. Investments close on October 28th.
Georgie Desailly for BDmag.