A new start-up has come up with solutions for wound management
A Bengaluru-based start-up Axio Biosolutions is transforming the way defence and police services undertake wound management for injured soldiers, thereby saving a number of lives. As Axio Biosolutions CEO Leo Mavely explains, “According to the US Army, half of the total number of US soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq died due to bleeding.” Which clearly shows that effective control of bleeding can be the difference between life and death.
Initially, the company started working with the Border Security Forces (BSF) to build Axiostat, which is a stable, affordable and rugged Haemostat or blood First Field Dressing (FFD) kit as an alternative to high cost imported kits. It consists of 8x8cm sponges packed in a MIL grade 3-layer packing. The product is a polymer-based material called Chitosan, and Axio has patented both the process and the 100 per cent Chitosan product derived from it. When in contact with blood, Chitosan works by having positively charged ions react with the negatively charged ingredients of the blood to form a strong clot in a matter of few seconds which arrests further bleeding. This bond can be reversed by applying water and saline.
“The problem with any new biomaterial is safety, efficacy and consistency,” says Mavely. Both safety and efficacy depend on the user consistency which is primarily a manufacturing issue. The company has a manufacturing unit in Ahmadabad with a capacity of producing 1 million units, making it the largest unit for this material in the world. Production at such huge scales bring up the issue of quality control which is where processes meeting US FDA, CE and IGMP regulations implemented by a skilled workforce come in handy.
The Haemostat has been used by the army and police in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and in Maoist infested areas from where the user feedback has been phenomenal. It has been appreciated for the ease of use and removal which can save critical seconds if an immediate surgery is required.
“The major learning for us comes from the supply part and not the product itself,” he says. The need for the forces can vary in volume and location of delivery difficult to access. To tackle this, the company has connected with committed local distributers close to the places of need. “We have cracked the supply part of it”, says Leo, and rightly so, having provided 80-90 battalions with FFD kits. Reactionary safety measures like this can be as important in saving lives as precautionary measures like bullet resistant vests. The awareness and consensus among the services, ministry of home affairs (MHA) and ministry of defence (MoD) on the need of the product is increasing but the processes to execute them are still fully not in place.
Axio has sold about 300,000 packs so far, of which 100,000 went to the Indian government and the rest were exported to 12 different countries. Many were also used in the recent Russia-Ukraine conflict. The company is also trying to address need-based issues such as infection prevention.