Finding a solution that fits

Takaya Technology’s PPE innovation supports fight against COVID-19

It started with an idea, a purpose, and a cause.

At the onset of the global pandemic, there was an immediate need for additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to support in the fight against COVID-19. Health care workers required not only a large supply of PPE, but one that would meet regulatory requirements and help keep frontline workers safe.

Noticing challenges with the available equipment, the Takaya team set out to innovate and create a more effective solution. Using their solid mix of expertise alongside their wide professional network, Nova Scotia-based Takaya Technology Inc. was formed.  

The challenge with wearing masks

To protect themselves from job-related exposure risks, healthcare workers wear N95 masks which filter at least 95% of airborne particles. That said, in order to maintain this level of effectiveness, the N95 masks must fit the user’s face properly, creating an effective seal, to eliminate particles bypassing the filter material.

The problem observed by Takaya, was that some traditional N95 respirators were ill-fitting, and the ones that did fit properly caused significant discomfort and facial bruising. Seeing this, Takaya created an innovative mask design to serve the medical community, and ultimately the general public.

Their solution focuses on creating a better fitting respirator, that requires less force than traditional models. Their product also creates added comfort and increased breathability, providing a fit that isn’t compromised by the daily demands of clinical life, or even something as simple as speaking or smiling.

“Simple acts of humanity, like smiling or expressions of comfort, that often provide much needed warmth and support to vulnerable patients, can compromise the seal of traditional respirators. In a more drastic measure, we are learning that in some cases surgeons are instructed not to move their heads for the duration of their surgeries, to ensure their mask stays in place,” said Andrew MacKean, CEO, Takaya Technology. “We aim to remove unnecessary worry that these basic actions could be a threat to the care provider’s personal safety, so that focus can return to the priority of patient care.” 

Takaya has filed a patent on its design and the team is focused on continuing to execute its commercialization strategy to bring the product to market.

“We had this idea that we knew would help people and address a critical challenge in this pandemic and in healthcare overall, but the key was knowing what to focus on and how to execute successfully,” said Erin MacKean, Chief Operating Officer, Takaya Technology. “Part of what has helped propel us forward so quickly is our ability to bring together the right people and access the appropriate financial, regulatory and commercialization expertise.”

That expertise is also available in-house at Takaya.

Chief Operating Officer Erin MacKean has a decade of experience commercializing medical devices, and a background in life sciences operations, marketing and product management. On the other hand, her brother, CEO Andrew MacKean is an entrepreneur with experience in finance, management consulting, operations, and product commercialization in regulated industries. Additionally, their sister Chief Medical Officer Dr. Susan Ripley, is an Acute Medicine Hospitalist and part of a group of attending physicians caring for COVID-19 patients, along with many other key contributors on the team who have helped drive the company forward.

“The medical device industry can be difficult to navigate as it is heavily regulated,” said Andrew. “At Takaya, we know that if you take the time to understand the best path, and assemble the right team, you can be successful.”

Takaya is the latest company to join Emergence, an Atlantic bioscience business incubator dedicated to assisting start-ups and growth-stage bioscience companies in efficiently bringing their products and services to market.

“We are very grateful to be working with the Emergence team as we move forward with Takaya’s plans for commercialization,” said Erin. “The team has been very responsive and supportive, and we look forward to working together to bring our product to market and make it available to serve medical communities around the world.”

For more information on Emergence, visit emergencebioincubator.com

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