AdaptAir: Developing and Commercializing an Accessory Versus a Stand-Alone Product

AdaptAir: Developing and Commercializing an Accessory Versus a Stand-Alone Product

By
Stefanos Zenios, Lyn Denend, Amy Lockwood, Edward Sheen
Global Health Innovation Insights.
2015

In resource constrained settings, bubble CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is emerging as a more affordable treatment option for children with acute respiratory infections. However, the effectiveness of this approach is compromised when healthcare providers cannot ensure a tight seal between an infant’s nose and the mask that delivers the pressurized air. Recognizing that healthcare providers need a low-cost way to create a better seal without having to reinvest in all-new equipment, the AdaptAir team developed a silicone adapter for the nasal cannula.

While physicians in Bangladesh responded favorably to the adapter during early field testing, AdaptAir quickly encountered challenges in trying to establish a company to further develop and commercialize the device. Licensing seemed like a more feasible alternative to get the product to market, but prospective partners wanted AdaptAir to provide them with a market-ready product that they could bundle with their own bubble CPAP equipment. This mini-case study explores the challenges AdpatAir faced in determining its next steps and the lessons the team learned about creating an accessory versus a stand-alone product.

This story is part of the Global Health Innovation Insight Series developed at Stanford University to shed light on the challenges that global health innovators face as they seek to develop and implement new products and services that address needs in resource-constrained settings. 

Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Alejandro Palandjoglou of AdaptAir for his participation. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant 1 RC4 TW008781-01.