Around 2,5 million people worldwide wear a stoma bag every day, causing them troubles, such as a changed body perspective, skin irritation and leakage.
Ampa Medical, a company admitted to BioInnovation Institute’s Venture Lab program, develops a new solution for collecting output from ostomies radically different from the stoma bag. Thus, Ampa Medical wishes to remove time-consuming, mental and physical obstacles related to the current usage of stoma bags, providing a new and better life for people living with a stoma.
We took a chat with the Cofounder, Cecilie Ammitzbøll, to get more acquainted with the company’s mission and vision.
What is the key driver for Ampa Medical?
We are driven by improving the lives of people who have a stoma. Shortly, we can hopefully offer an alternative to the stoma bag that will benefit current users of the stoma bag by addressing an unmet need.
What is the idea behind the company?
Both of us have a background as health professionals and decided to apply for a Novo Nordisk Foundation Fellowship Programme named ‘BioMedical Design’. The program focuses on empowering professionals to provide innovative ideas addressing challenges in the healthcare sector. As part of the program, we explored all kinds of needs at the gastrointestinal department at Rigshospitalet. Here, we met people living with a stoma who were heavily bothered by their stoma bags. Nevertheless, the stoma bag is the only option for those persons and there has not been radical innovation within this area for the last 50-70 years. We have decided to change that by providing a better alternative to the stoma bag and addressing an unmet need.
As we discovered the need by meeting people who shared their problems with us, it felt like the idea was born in the right place.
Why did you decide to quit a stable job as a doctor to go full-time with Ampa Medical?
It is probably the opportunity to create something from scratch that can make a difference in people’s lives. The adventurous part of it is also a key driver. Marie and I feel motivated by making something grow, and we are both creative persons who also enjoy being creative in our spare time. With Ampa Medical, we have a chance to unfold our creativity on our entrepreneurial journey while hopefully helping people in the long run.
What are you focusing on in the Venture Lab program, and what would be the optimal outcome after 12 months?
We focus on finalizing a mature prototype, and then we need to improve on all the commercial aspects, such as market analysis, IP and business strategy. Furthermore, we need to make a regulatory strategy to know what path we need to take. Luckily, we have the funding to bring experts on board to help us develop our product and company.
How have patients and clinicians responded to your alternative to the stoma bag?
The patients are very positive and are willingly sharing their personal experiences. The stoma bag is causing skin irritation, worries related to leakage, and just dissatisfaction associated with the uncomfortable feeling of wearing the stoma bag. The clinicians have shown interest in the idea and have helped us with valuable information for developing the product. Fortunately, we have met creative thinking health care professionals focusing on opportunities instead of limitations in the idea. They are all welcoming an alternative to the stoma bag since we operate in an area that has experienced only moderate innovation for many years.
Why do you believe there has not been more innovation in the healthcare sector in this area?
I think it is a question of time and resources. It is a ‘production machine’ where everyone plays a part, and thus you cannot afford that someone steps out of the production chain and moves in a different direction. There is simply a lack of time and resources for innovation. But it is, of course, important to emphasize that we also met very innovative thinking health care professionals working with research and inventions. Recently, Rigshospitalet established an Innovation Center based on the assumption that a university hospital filled with highly specialized professionals has the potential to foster great ideas and make them blossom.
Maria Henriques de Jesus, Business Developer at BII, says the following about Ampa Medical: “Ampa Medical has the patient first in mind and has developed a solution that is both radically innovative and elegant with great potential of improving the lives of people living with a stoma. We are thrilled to support them on this new chapter of their journey and help bring their vision and product to market.”