When team members at D-Rev — a U.S. nonprofit technology company with the mission to improve the health and incomes of people living on less than $4 per day — became interested in the problem of infant jaundice, they initiated a detailed assessment of the phototherapy landscapes in India and Nigeria. Based on insights from that research, the D-Rev team created a prototype for a jaundice treatment product that it called Brilliance. The new phototherapy solution used a high-intensity LED light source that consumed less power than devices with compact fluorescent bulbs (the current standard) and lasted significantly longer. Early test results also revealed that the technology had the potential to perform on par with or better than state-of-the-art phototherapy equipment.
When D-Rev was ready to start thinking about taking Brilliance to market, the team carefully evaluated its own competencies and concluded that the organization’s strengths were not in product manufacturing or after-sales services. D-Rev did not have the vast expertise and connections needed to establish a sales and distribution network in India, which was its preliminary target market for the device. The team believed it should enter into a licensing agreement to accelerate Brilliance’s market penetration. The challenge was to find the right partner and structure the partnership deal effectively to ensure that D-Rev’s social impact goals would be achieved. This mini-case study explores how D-Rev identified its partner and crafted an agreement to motivate desired behavior.
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 Krista Donaldson and Jayanth Chakravarthy of D-Rev for their participation. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant 1 RC4 TW008781-01.