Thinking about an effective way to prevent children from drowning in swimming pools, Indienov envisioned a medical device designed to prevent and limit the risk of hip fracture in the elderly.
“Based on our initial idea, the market is not yet mature, which is not the case for a femoral neck fracture, which is a real scourge for the elderly with 80,000 fractures a year,” explains Gerard Leser, co-founder in April 2020 of the company with Maurice Kahn, a doctoral engineer in the field of nanotechnology. “In addition, as a result of the accident, half of the victims lose their independence, and 21% die.”
Figures that leave no doubt about the reality of the need. “We started with the concept of a connected belt, which we developed with engineers in the fields of electronics, artificial intelligence, algorithms… and in collaboration with the Public Care Movement and Musculoskeletal Institute – Marseille Hospital,” continues the co-founder.
The final product will be launched on October 11 from Marseille, during the “Indienov Medtech Day” of the Silver Economy, and will be sold from November/December through a dedicated network of medical equipment distributors, pharmacies, etc. “We hope to sell at least 200 vehicles by the end of 2022 and over 2,000 next year,” says Gerard Lesoeur.
A tool in the service of aging
It took two and a half years of research and development, a fundraising of almost 2 million euros, the support of Bpifrance and Région Sud Investissement, to perfect a solution that combines different building blocks (biomechanical airbag, belt fabric, embedded electronics, hardware / software ). and data/AI). It weighs just 500 grams, comes in three colors and four sizes, and charges via a USB port.
“We needed a miniature on-board system that didn’t point fingers at its owner. The belt and its buckle are barely wider than a similar non-connection product. The airbag only deploys in the event of an actual fall, not when an older person sits heavily in their chair,” says Gerard Leser, convinced that the audience knows that “the prevention of a hip fracture that cannot be cured with medication requires the use of external object.
During a fall, on-board technology sends an electronic signal, depending on the person’s movement, to one or the other of the two belt airbags, which deploy at the level of the femoral neck and femur, to cushion the impact and prevent breakage.
In his opinion, “this belt prevents and protects” the elderly, allows them to remain independent for longer, but also calms them, restores their confidence that they can continue to go out, move around, maintain the social life necessary for “good aging “. The integration of the ability to communicate through a special application with relatives, guardians or emergency services provides additional security.
Subscription business model
Indiennov, which employs 18 people, plans to raise new funds of about 1.5 million euros by the end of the year to industrialize and market its products. The startup has been creating a premise for its assembly in Marseille since November 2022. To sell it, he opts for a €49 monthly subscription model for 24 months with a €49 setup and access fee.
In France, innovations have been recognized with the SilverEco Trophies and SNITEM (National Union of Medical Technology Manufacturers) awards. International exploratory work is already visible: they will be exhibiting at Tech4Good in Seoul, South Korea from September 19 to 23, and then at CES in Las Vegas in January 2023.
Jean-Christophe Barla (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur)