US based medtech innovator with a breakthrough breast health check device for women is set to bring its offerings to India
14 September, 2015. Bangalore, India – UE LifeSciences, a health technology developer, has raised $3 million (INR 19.5 Crore) in Series A investment led by Aarin Capital, a venture capital firm co-founded by Manipal Group’s, Dr. Ranjan Pai. Unitus Ventures, India’s leading venture seed fund supporting startups innovating for the masses, also participated in this round.
The capital will be used to expand trials and setup manufacturing in India as well as to build distribution networks through public and private primary care providers across India.
UE LifeSciences’ high-tech, portable and easy to use iBreastExam device has the potential to provide lakhs of Indian women gain access to a painless breast health examination and to early detection of breast lesions, for the first time.
iBreastExam to help detect suspicious lumps and lesions in the breast at an early stage
The company has developed iBreastExam, a hand-held breast health examination device. The US FDA cleared, painless and radiation-free device is easy to use and can also be operated by nurses and social workers to provide standardized breast exams with instant results at the point-of-care.
iBreastExam uses patented ceramic sensors invented at Drexel University, USA to detect subtle variations in breast tissue stiffness. Tumors being stiffer than normal breast tissue are detected in real-time by this novel sensor. A team of scientists, engineers and clinicians, led by Mihir Shah, an Indian mHealth entrepreneur, developed it into a handy wireless mobile device.
“iBreastExam is a quick and convenient breast health check. It is an early indication test like blood pressure monitor, glucometer or pulse oximeter. It can be made available to women in the privacy and comfort of their home, HR managers can organize breast health camps in their office premises and governmental health agencies can make early detection accessible to women in rural India”, says Mihir Shah, Founder & CEO of UE LifeSciences. “We are excited to partner with Aarin Capital and Unitus Ventures to bring this product to scale in India and other markets where breast cancer is commonly detected at later stages.”
Dr. Sanjay Sharma, surgical oncologist and Director of Asian Institute of Oncology commented that, “In India, breast cancer disproportionately affects young women under age 50. Even in large cities, most cases are diagnosed late and one out of two women do not make it past five years after being diagnosed. iBreastExam may be helpful to women as an aid to early detection of a growing tumor”.
Scaling up breast health check first in India
Because of the business opportunity, UE Lifesciences has decided to first go to market in India targeting the 19 crore (190 million) women who can benefit from regular breast health checks. The company is in talks with various diagnostics chains, home healthcare providers, NGOs and governmental agencies to bring iBreastExam to women in both urban and rural India. The company is also working closely with PATH, a leading international nonprofit organization and a leader in global health innovation for women and children.
Additionally, the company is setting up local manufacturing for the product in India in alignment with the “Make in India” push from the Indian government. This will generate more local jobs and give the company an edge by reducing the complexity of its supply chain as it scales up in India.
Dr Ranjan Pai says, “We are very pleased to be associated with Mihir and UE LifeSciences. iBreastExam brings high quality breast health examination to lakhs of Indian women, who hitherto did not have access to any such kind of diagnostics. This has the potential to save millions of women’s lives. We are also delighted to be working with Mihir, who brings deep technical expertise to his venture.”
“Less than 1% of healthy women in India get preventively checked for breast lesions due to minimal or no access to screening facilities. We see UE LifeSciences’ iBreastExam device as a disruptive opportunity, given the strong need for primary health check for breast, lack of viable alternatives, and lack of highly skilled healthcare resources in India,” said Dave Richards, Managing Partner, Unitus Ventures.
About UE Lifesciences Inc.
UE LifeSciences Inc. (UELS) is a Philadelphia, PA based corporation with a mission to design, develop and commercialize globally adoptable and clinically effective non-invasive medical solutions. UELS creates automated and sustainable technologies that do not require highly skilled user base for accurate test administration and data analysis. More about UE Lifesciences >
About Aarin Capital
Aarin Capital is a stage-agnostic venture fund with the ability to actively support its investee companies from incubation to exit. They seek to create long-term value by partnering with talented, hungry management teams actively complementing their skills with their insights derived from experience in building valuable companies. They aim to build sizeable, profitable companies with sustainable value propositions. Their focus areas are healthcare and life sciences, education and other large opportunities that are technology driven. More about Aarin Capital >
About Unitus Ventures
Unitus Ventures is the leading venture seed fund supporting startups innovating for the masses in India. Unitus invests in healthcare, education, mobile & consumer, retail & e-commerce, financial services, and agriculture. Founded in 2012, Unitus Ventures is part of the Unitus Group, a premier financial services group operating in India and other emerging markets since 2000. Unitus Ventures is based in Bangalore and Seattle. More about Unitus Ventures >