Innovation and Research Paid Off for Local Medical Firm
Epoch Times, Singapore Edition (Issue 488), June 6 – June 19, 2014
By Michael Ng
Epoch Times Staff
Local medical firm NSP Tech has designed the world’s most painless, smallest, and safest pricking device that once again proved that innovation through research and development paid off. We spoke to Joseph Lum, managing director, Jason Foo, vice president of product management, and his associates at their office in Northlink Building.
Safeticet and Safetiheel are patented flagship products of NSP Tech. These are contact-activated pricking devices, or lancets that have won the likes of health professionals worldwide. A pricking device is used to make a small puncture in the skin, usually at the fingertips, to expose blood droplets for further diagnosis. Such intense drive to be unique and different came from Joseph himself.
“In 2007, I started to ask myself how long can the good business last,” Joseph shared. “In those days, contract manufacturers like us face diverse challenges. Our molding equipment, which is an investment for us, can easily become white elephants the moment our clients stop the contract.”
“I am a committed person and I always wanted to do things differently.” “We have been contract manufacturers for lancets since year 2000. I came to understand the limitations of current lancets.” “Some of these lancets do not work properly. Some are too painful to use as the surge of force to prick the skin is too high.”
NSP Tech took the opportunity to form a research and development team to look into the design of better and improved lancets. It must be comfortable to use, especially when such devices must be used multiple times a day by diabetes patients; the device should dissipate the fear out of people who have to subject the skin to constant punctures. It must be safe to use without any possibility of cross-contamination, which usually happens when lancets are re-used.
“Our R&D team spent $1 million and four years to create a design—Safeticet—that is painless, use-once only, and extremely small so much so that doctors have complimented us for producing a device that save lives, as patients no longer fear subjecting themselves to multiple incisions a day. We also produce the Safetiheel, a pricking device for baby’s supple heel.”
Both products received FDA approval in 2011 and were launched in trade shows and exhibitions and have received widespread acceptance. Health professionals were surprised how painless Safeticet was. In the U.S., diabetes patients need to test their blood for glucose levels up to eights times a day. Safeticet takes away patients’ fear of taking blood samples for testing, as it is close to 100% painless.
NSP Tech is poised to capture the huge global market for safety lancets, having come a long way from its modest beginning as a subcontractor servicing company in 1995. Back then, it was a custom molding company for a Japanese client. It took over the Japanese client’s business when the latter diversified from plastic molding to high precision injection molding.
Soon came the financial crisis of 1997. Joseph quickly relocated his production facility to Batam, Indonesia, which saved them 40-50 percent of operation cost. “We took six months to prepare for the move. And it paid off. We were able to register a company with the local authorities, establish the manufacturing facility in Batam, and had it up and running all within one and half months,” Joseph remarked.
From an initial 6,000 square feet premise housing 6 machines, it has now grown to 60,000 square feet housing 40 machines. It has clean-room manufacturing, spray painting and secondary processes facilities; anodizing and automatic spindle spray painting facilities. NSP Tech achieved ISO9001 certification in 2001 and ISO13485 and ISO14000 certifications in 2005.
The flagship products received thumbs-up from medical practitioners worldwide. “At first, I couldn’t believe a product like this actually would work. I tried the lancets, and they were painless … Safeticet Lancets should be the most outstanding contribution to diabetes care for the year,” wrote Dr. Timothy J. Gray, a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and Certified Diabetes Educator from Mountain View Medical Center, Oregon, U.S.
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