Arbutus Medical receives $1 million to expand in Asia and Africa


A social venture out of UBC has received $1-million investment from Grand Challenges Canada to pursue market expansion across Africa and India.

The venture, Arbutus Medical, was co-founded by MECH alumnus Florin Gheorghe and a group of UBC biomedical engineering graduates. Arbutus Medical makes a sterilizable Drill Cover system that allows the use of inexpensive hardware store drills in bone surgery. The Drill Cover has been used to treat more than 10,000 patients across 14 countries and has been listed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Surgical drills can cost up to $30,000 and are a significant investment for medical care providers in developing countries,” said Gheorghe. “Our Drill Cover transforms an ordinary drill into one suitable for surgery, for a very low cost.”

Arbutus is one of six innovations recognized by Grand Challenges Canada for showing early promise for improving global health. It has previously received support from Coast Capital Savings Innovation Hub, a social venture accelerator operated by the UBC Sauder School of Business, and the Lean Launch Pad Accelerator program offered by entrepreneurship@UBC.

“We conducted clinical trials in East Africa and found that by using the Drill Cover on a power drill, surgeons reduced surgical time, tool cost and infection risks,” noted Gheorghe. “The next step is to grow our partnerships, like the one with Crown Healthcare Africa, a leading distributor in the region. We want to scale our market efforts, operations and impact for the Drill Cover across Africa and India. This will support hospitals in reducing infection and preventing permanent disability for thousands of patients.”

Click here to read the media release from Grand Challenges Canada.

Read more about Gheorghe’s success with Arbutus Medical here.

Original article from the APSC News