The start-up medical device company Veriphi has developed technology to address the issue of medication error, the most common cause of patient harm in the hospital system worldwide.
“120 people die in New Zealand hospitals each year from preventable medication errors,” says Veriphi founder, Greg Shanahan.
“Records say that preventable medication errors are costing about $158m dollars per year. That’s a very big number.”
“65% of healthcare spend is spent on people over 65. With modern medicine, their drug regimens are more complex and so getting that right is becoming more difficult, so what we’re endeavouring to produce is artificial intelligence that senses what the drug actually is and knows whether or not that is the drug the patient should receive.”
The Auckland firm has spent over six years and $6m developing a laser analyser which scans the contents of intravenous lines, intravenous bags and syringes to determine if the drug and the dosage is correct for the patient.
“We’ve been speaking to some of the largest companies in the world in terms of the commercialisation of this. Passing a laser beam through a drug is an elegantly simple idea, but in execution there are lots of gritty technical issues to address. A number of them have tried to do something like this and not been successful. I don’t think anyone’s been stupid enough to try and do it for six years.”
The company is now ready to take the next step: a full validation trial at Auckland Hospital. To do so, the firm has launched an equity crowdfunding campaign to raise money to develop the commercial version of the analyser, and continue to look for a global partner.
“We’re quite excited by that, both that we’re getting more money, but it’s also it enables people to participate and risk relatively modest amounts of money, and it enables us, as a marketing exercise, to get out there and educate potential customers.”
“We think this is a really big opportunity. The company will earn revenue every time a drug is verified using our technology, so you can imagine. It’s a colossal opportunity.”
View Veriphi’s offer on Snowball Effect here.