Jamie Magrill
Jamie Magrill

Ready, set, vaccinate: Startup growth in COVID-19

Person performing an injection (Unsplash).

I got vaccinated for COVID-19 this week (check out that story on TOI Online here).

And while Israel, the start-up nation, was vaccinating its 4-millionth person, my own start-up company, DECAP R&D was getting its own inoculation drive to adapt to a new post-COVID world (full disclosure, I am the CEO and a co-founder of DECAP R&D). 

Before COVID-19, DECAP R&D was a small design startup focusing on 3D-printable protective equipment in a number of areas: injections, assistive tech, needle-stick prevention and risk mitigation, with a number of exciting designs for future products on the table.

The pandemic changed everything: lockdowns, mass vaccination drives, and a huge strain on our healthcare system, as well as the millions of folks who passed away due to the coronavirus. At DECAP R&D, we focused on helping front-line and healthcare workers. We 3D-printed face-shields and ear-protectors through a partnership with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Centre for Innovation (HUJI Innovate), and explored adapting antimicrobial 3D-printer plastics and silver nanoparticle coatings for anti-viral activity in everyday device applications. 

New opportunities opened up as well: we applied for and won a suite of industry-academia grants to conduct COVID-19 related research, and brought in expertise to scale our venture. We joined the Lab2Launch Accelerator Program in partnership with the University of British Columbia (UBC) and entrepreneurship@UBC, and refined our business strategy by working with world-class experts, all over Zoom.

With the help of entrepreneurship@UBC’s mentors, the DECAP team concentrated our attention on one specific product line: a range of safe needle-uncapping/recapping devices. Although these products were originally designed for veterinarians and medical researchers, we quickly realized that they could be helpful for the millions of healthcare workers attempting to vaccinate 7 billion people. That’s 7 billion people – billion with a B – and up to 14 billion shots. Many countries, especially developing countries, don’t have the infrastructure or people-power to deliver these injections safely and efficiently. As countries expand their front-line injection workforces, recruiting dentists, midwives, and technicians to provide millions more injections, these groups are likely to experience a higher incidence of needle-stick injuries. DECAP can help these front-line workers as they enable countries to reach their goals of population immunity by making the process of working with needles more safe, efficient and ergonomically-friendly.

So now, in classic Israeli fashion, I will ask you, dear reader, for a favour. We at DECAP R&D want to support the global vaccination rollout and are looking for ways to scale up quickly to meet the demand. If you can share this article with anyone you know who is involved with the vaccination effort in your country and might benefit from faster, safer vaccinations, or if you work with needles – as a doctor, a veterinarian, a nurse, a technician, or are involved in the vaccine rollout in your country, reach out to us! We are looking for partners in pre-clinical trials, testers, and even investors, if they have the right mindset, so we can get our devices out into the hands of front-line workers who need them!

Don’t be shy to reach out to us at decapRandD@gmail.com and stay tuned for more updates!

About the Author
Jamie Magrill is a scientist-scholar and world-traveler with an interest in entrepreneurship and startups, particularly in the biomedical and philanthropic fields, an MSc in Biomedical Sciences Candidate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a Masa Israel Journey alum.
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