“I have never felt gender as an issue in my work. I have worked in the biomedical industry for a decade and there are a lot of women in space,” says Anat Shani, CEO of Synchrony Medical . Shani, a biomedical engineer with expertise in developing wearable devices for over a decade, shared with CTech at the AnD Ventures Wonder Founder event her thoughts on her career as an entrepreneur in the biomedical industry. and as a woman in high technology.
During Covid 19, Shani noticed that Israeli patients with chronic lung diseases began to deteriorate and their clinical condition worsened because they stopped receiving airway clearance therapy which is needed on a daily basis. Patients stopped coming to hospitals and they didn’t want anyone coming into their homes to treat them manually.
Synchrony Medical was born from the idea of developing a device capable of mimicking the respiratory treatment currently administered manually, and of doing it at home by a machine.
Shani talked about her startup with a passion that exists primarily for entrepreneurs aiming to save human life. She is humble yet assertive and understands that to be successful, you must fully embrace the challenges ahead.
“Our machine is not large, it is designed to allow patients to receive the treatment independently, in their homes,” Shani explained. “They have to do it every day and it applies different aspects of respiratory therapy to provide the best treatment possible. It consists of a wearable vest that applies chest compressions to the patient’s chest that are synchronized with the patient’s breathing cycle. We have sensors in the system that detect the patient’s breathing and integrate and adjust. On top of that, we have an app that guides the patient through the session as if there was a respiratory therapist with them in the room. Together, all of these treatment components truly deliver the different aspects of therapy that are today delivered manually by experienced respiratory therapists which, of course, are not available to patients around the world.
Shani is currently hoping to secure an investment round for clinical trials in the United States. Synchrony Medical is awaiting publication of the Sheba Medical Center trial which Shani says has “amazing results.”
What are your pricing and business model?
“We are developing a medical device, so we have a lot of stakeholders. Technically, medical insurance companies cover devices like these for patients. Reimbursement in the United States can be up to $16,000. The profit margins for these type of devices are high in the 70s, and the idea is to keep the patient stable, preventing them from being hospitalized because hospitalization is so expensive, each hospitalization costs $10,000 to the United States, so it’s worth placing a device in their home and keeping them out of the hospital. In addition, each hospitalization further aggravates their condition and makes their next hospitalization more risky.
CTech’s She-Inspires series follows the stories of various female leaders in Israel. From a variety of industries: some hold high-level positions in large organizations, some are founders, and some are key players in industries aiming to change the world for the better. The objective is to know where they come from, where they go and how they inspire an entire sector that is heading towards a glass ceiling just waiting to burst.
How many women are part of the company?
“We are a relatively small company and we are part of medx xelerator, a medical device incubator here in Israel. Our partners include Sheba Medical Center and Boston Scientific, among others. We are three full-time employees with over 10 suppliers. I am a woman, the R&D engineer is a woman and the VP R&D is a woman too. We are balanced otherwise it would be too much.
Do you feel like being a woman has impacted your success in any way?
“To be honest, I’ve never felt gender was an issue in my work. I’ve worked in the biomedical industry for a decade and there are a lot of women in space just because of nature. work.
Shani adds with a smile, “It’s not like male programmers sitting around all day.”
“It’s a relatively diverse environment to start with and I think like any other profession or job, if you’re capable and you’ve done the right things in the past and you have the right attitude towards what you’re doing , people will work with you, and you will be appreciated. Perhaps beyond the first impression that no longer plays a role,” says Shani with a refreshing look at an issue that plagues women around the world.
What advice would you have given to your younger self?
“In hindsight, I would say – accept the amount of uncertainty that surrounds you. When you start a startup, there’s so much to discover and there’s so much to consider. It’s very overwhelming, especially if you are doing it for the first time. Luckily, I was part of an incubator, so I had the support of experienced people around me. However, it was a very difficult situation at the beginning to understand that it there is so much to explore and how crucial the need to focus is.