A team of Imperial students are hoping to make avoidable blindness a thing of the past with a revolutionary imaging tool.
Meet the team
Suchaya (Mint) Mahuttanatan, Founder (BSc Biomedical science 2019)
The problem and solution
Every five seconds someone fractures a bone yet the technology for casts has not changed significantly for decades, meaning they are uncomfortable and impractical for most people’s lifestyle. Although 3D printed casts are becoming more commonplace they unfortunately are not accessible nor affordable for most patients which limits their viability. Indeed they come at a price that is ten times higher than more than half of the world population can afford.
At Cadget, we aim to revolutionise the bone healing experience with a breathable, washable cast that is 60% lighter. This is achieved through a novel mechanism that works inside the casting sheet and needs no additional casting equipment. This halves both the cost of the procedure and the time taken to put the cast in place. All physicians need to do is stretch the sheet to trigger the hardening process, put it around the affected area and wait a few minutes until the sheet becomes stiff.
I started the company in the second year of my undergraduate course in BioMedical Science at Imperial College London in November 2018. At that time I was having lectures on orthopaedics and it took me back to when I was seven years old and my father broke his arm. I remember seeing all the difficulties he encountered doing day-to-day tasks such as getting dressed and washing the car and I realised that, since that time, there has been little change in cast technology. As such, I set out to redesign casts to be more practical and comfortable.
Cadget can be mass-produced as a one-size-fits-all product since the sheet is initially elastic enough to be molded perfectly onto structures with a wide range of shapes and sizes. This makes Cadget easy to manufacture and distribute while still retaining its ability to be customised to the patient to give promising therapeutic benefits.
We are currently in the process of developing and completing our minimum viable product. At the end of 2019, we plan to raise a round to do clinical testing and pilot Cadget in different potential markets. We are looking for a chemical engineer and a product designer to help product development.
Cadget was part of the WE Innovate programme and, through this, I met Janet Murray who is a highly proactive and professional business coach. On the clinical side, I have received valuable insight from Associated Professor Thanainit Chotanaphuti who is a former President of Thai Hip and Knee Society, President of Asian Arthroplasty Association and President of the CAOS Asia Pacific. On the technical side, I recieved advice from Yu Huang, a chemical engineering research postgraduate at Imperial College London. This combination of advisors in different specialisms has been incredibly helpful and I am now seeking an advisor who has experience getting medical products into Asia Pacific and the Middle East market.
Enterprise Lab Support
The venture originated as a part of WE Innovate 2019 programme held by Imperial Enterprise Lab. As part of this we had weekly masterclasses on a range of useful subjects like design and pitching. It also provided business coaching sessions where we could ask specific questions about our ideas. In addition to this, as part of Phase 2, we had an opportunity have meet over 30 big-name investors and pitch our ideas to them, which was an invaluable experience.
Successes and setbacks
The biggest success so far has been winning the WE Innovate competition in March 2019 and securing the first funding to get the project off the ground. The biggest challenge so far has been to iterate the product and provide sufficient proof that Cadget meets global medical safety and regulation standards
Advice to aspiring entrepreneurs
My advice to any students thinking about starting a business is just to go for it! Step out of your comfort-zone and try out your ideas. Don’t be afraid of failure. As a student, you can find a lot of support from university and definitely from the Enterprise Lab. If things don’t go as planned, as a student, you have nothing to lose.