Today, the healthcare vertical has drastically improved, but so have the causes and diseases. The importance of a high-quality health care is not a thing to think again, and it is of vital significance for a reduced price. Also, healthcare now demands early detection of diseases rather than specialized treatment in the late stages. The diagnosis time is also valuable as people are now more concerned about their time rather than their health. These problems have been here until Sanjeev Saxena stood and decided to change with POC Medical Systems.
The service that is being offered by POC Medical systems is above and beyond what exists in the health care system today. Founded by well-experienced technology and biomedical professionals, with a patent-protected Point of Care Testing product for Breast Cancer, POC Medical Systems is bringing accessible, next-generation diagnostics to market.
A Series of Moments that Led to the Formation
Sanjeev was in India with his last company when he realized the significant gap between health care providers and patients. He saw hundreds of people lined up in front of prestigious institutes like Tata Memorial and All India Institute of Medical Sciences for weeks, far away from their villages just to get a chance to see the doctor. Sometimes this would come at the cost of their livelihood so that they could get a better chance of living life. Unfortunately, this pushed them into more debt which made Sanjeev think about how could he do something that would help change this situation.
Sandia Labs, Lawrence Livermore National Labs, and UC Irvine were developing a few independent technologies at the time. Sanjeev thought himself that if these could be married together, he could come up with the solution which would impact these lives and bring these diagnostics to them. It got him thinking about forming something revolutionary, and thus, took place the birth of POC Medical Systems four years back.
However, the pivotal moment that Sanjeev believes behind starting POC is when he was watching television and seeing children die due to lack of healthcare facilities. He then decided to create a lab in a box by which life-saving health care technologies can reach every human being in every remote part of the world.
The Diversity that Molded His Entrepreneurial Skills
A social entrepreneur by birth and after founding several successful companies, Sanjeev was excited about getting new technology into the market that would help the masses. Sanjeev is a skilled Engineer, but more than 30 years of experience in the life-science & biomedical space has molded his entrepreneurial skills and helped him serve people’s lives.
Sanjeev’s goal has always been about developing or creating something that would create a lasting effect on people’s lives. Sanjeev believes that this can be made available to the 80 percent of the world who are not being served today. He wants to make medical treatments available to them, which can only happen by a distributive yet connected point of care (POC) systems at a little cost in the villages, cities, and slums.
The Journey which was a Tough Row to Hoe
Starting POC was a tough row to hoe, but Sanjeev’s never giving up attitude helped him make it through. There were several instances when he could have opted something else, but changing lives mattered to him, and it kept him going.
When POC was started; it took almost four years for him to raise money, and move forward. In the meantime, he had raised a small amount of money, but he invested it in the business and paid the salary of his team. He was not paying himself, and this made a difference. When the team noticed it, they believed in the cause and decided to follow his suit.
A Fight Against Breast Cancer
At POC, Sanjeev and the team have designed a medical platform called Pandora CDxTM which allows the diagnosis to be brought to the masses in the major cities like Mexico City or farmers in Brazil or slums of Mumbai or villages in Rwanda. The first test on this platform, the MammoAlertTM is screening for breast cancer. The technology platform allows them to take the screening test to the masses. Today, the commonly used screening tool for women for breast cancer is using mammography. Less than 4% of the women get screening using mammography because it’s expensive and it’s not available, it’s got too many false positives and not a high accuracy or sensitivity rate. But with POC’s technology, they can go in and screen 1.6 billion women over the age of 40 around the globe essentially.
The team believes that they can test each woman at the cost of fewer than 2 dollars as compared to mammography which cost over 200 dollars. They have a technology platform that allows them to do something which was never possible before. Other than the breast cancer, they are also developing tests for other cancers such as cervical and oral and other diseases such as cardiac and infectious diseases.
The Never Give up Attitude that Kept Him Going
According to Sanjeev, an entrepreneur is always willing to take a risk and change the world. Everyone who has fought with status quo and changed the world is an entrepreneur, and Sanjeev is no exception. It is one of the times when he was talking to his attorney Casey Mcglynn at Wilson Cicinis. The attorney told Sanjeev that he’d be willing to invest in his business, only under one condition, ‘Sanjeev won’t be going to give up.’ Sanjeev never forgot that. Understanding and managing people is what he has learned over the years.
His father used to say, “Hey you need to work with people, and you need to hold them accountable and meet them daily to sit down and talk.” At the time, he considered his father wrong. But after Sanjeev had run few companies, he realized that his father was right. He constantly had to work with people and educate them on the vision and help them with problems. “As a leader, you need to help with problems. My dad told me to Roll up your sleeves and help them. You don’t need to be an expert in everything; you need to know enough, give the support they require. You have to be out there with your team in the field. Keep your team motivated then they perform,” asserts Sanjeev.
That Moment When A Client Became An Investor and A Close Friend
While POC was in early stage, he was working in the evening delivery food. One particular time, he told one client, Amrit Raj that he would not be delivering the following week. Amrit was all right with it but asked the reason. Sanjeev replied that he has conference calls and meetings to attend. Amrit then asked him about the profession. When Sanjeev responded about what he does, Amrit got impressed and decided to invest in the company. Later they became very close friends.
Amrit tells me you know when you told me you’re on a conference call with an investor next week and you won’t be delivering food. I thought that was a bunch of baloney. What’s this delivery boy talking about? He then told about my previous companies, and that I’d been interviewed by various TV programs, etc. He googled me, and he found all the information. The next time I went to deliver, he said how did the conference call go. I said it went well. He asked if they are going to be investing. I said yeah, some amount to some extent. Then, he said I’d like to invest too, can I invest? I said sure. So, he and his family came in and invested 250,000 dollars, and that was the first major funding we received at POC, which translated later on to other investors to $21 million dollars. But he goes on and tells me this story about how he googled me and that it got him excited. He said that he didn’t believe me at first because a lot of people used to come and say things, – Sanjeev remembers.
That is not the only case; over the course, it happened with other clients as well. Sanjeev kept pitching this story to people, not as a pitch, but as a friend. This is something a lot of entrepreneurs like to hear because to them; it’s exciting on how they can go about building their company and it’s something which his co-workers love to hear because then what he tells them – “not to give up if you believe in it go and take that risk.”
The Picture for the Better Tomorrow
Sanjeev sees POC going a lot more process-driven like other companies. “POC is still my baby and I hope it doesn’t change as much as it becomes so process oriented that the innovation gets lost. Innovation is the ground reality of this company and has to remain that. Remembering what we in for, and to never forget the vision – to innovate and help others lead a better life. That’s what this company is about, while other changes are happening, that part will never change,” Sanjeev concludes.