Health Tech: Yair Ramot On How Dimoveo Medical’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our Overall Wellness
An Interview With David Leichner
How major is the problem? — How many people does it affect and to which degree? The infection problem described above affects 1.5% of all knee joint surgeries and impacts the lives of tens of thousands of patients every year in the USA alone.
In recent years, Big Tech has gotten a bad rep. But of course many tech companies are doing important work making monumental positive changes to society, health, and the environment. To highlight these, we started a new interview series about “Technology Making An Important Positive Social Impact”. We are interviewing leaders of tech companies who are creating or have created a tech product that is helping to make a positive change in people’s lives or the environment. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Yair Ramot, CEO of Dimoveo Medical, a MEDX Xelerator portfolio company.
Mr. Ramot has more than 25 years of experience in the biomedical engineering device industry. He joined Dimoveo as its CEO following the successful exit of Ramot Bio Medical Engineering where he also served as CEO. Ramot is the former COO and VP of R&D at Biovo Technologies. He began his career designing lasers for operating theaters with Laser Industries and went on to manage multiple start-ups in the medical field. Ramot holds an MSc in Biomedical/Medical Engineering and a BS in Mechanical Engineering both from the Technion — Israel Institute of Technology.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory and how you grew up?
I grew up in Ramat-Gan, Israel but also spent a few years in the Congo during the reign of Mobutu. I was a 3rd grader, and he had just taken over the presidency. My father managed the Teva Pharmaceuticals factory there.
I recall that one of the employees died of a heart attack in the ampule for injections production facility. The employees thought there was a spirit in the room and refused to enter or clean it.
To calm the employees, my dad dressed me in a special kind of jumpsuit required to enter a clean room, and then in front of the others, he taught me how to work the machine as a way of showing the employees how to properly operate the machines and that it was indeed safe to work there.
Another experience that left an impression from these early days was when I attended the American School in the Congo. This school had advanced teaching methods.
All studies were based on self-exploring different topics and how to develop your own learning skills. It is important to note that this was long before the internet era. I use some of the skills I learned then, like taking on a task and following it to the end. This is something I implement until today.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Years ago, I founded a company called Ramot Biomedical Engineering, which develops custom made products to help disabled children. As part of that work, in 2005, we founded a factory in Bulgaria, which employed 50 people.
In those days, I commuted between Israel and Bulgaria every week, leaving on Mondays and returning on Thursdays.
Now, my wife and I have always had a strong inclination to help give a chance in life to children without a family.
We have one child born from our union. And today, we have three adopted children, the third, of Ethiopian origin, became part of our family during the Bulgaria commute years.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I’m grateful to Moti my first boss at my first civilian job at Scitex. I was an engineering and manufacturing manager there. Moti taught me how to delegate. He used to walk around with his hands in his pockets. He had a clean desk without a single paper on it. He was in charge of the entire manufacturing department, but it looked like he was doing nothing. He taught me how to invest in finding the right people and managing them in a way that fosters their success and streamlines frictionless work.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
It is not all about the end result, it is about enjoying the ride. If you are enjoying the path you are walking on towards your goal, you will probably reach that goal.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Simplification — the ability to breakdown a complex problem into smaller solvable units.
The problems are huge and it takes imagination and simplification capabilities to solve the challenges of designing custom made products for disabled children.
For example, a handicapped child with a limited motion range of his lower extremities wanted to swim. The solution required increasing the floating ability of the entire body. We designed a custom-made orthosis that enabled him to float and swim. This work was done in cooperation with Alyn Hospital in Israel. Seeing the end-result of this child swimming was extremely rewarding.
Doing Good — The aspiration should be not only to perform your job in a profitable and efficient manner but also to do some good in the world and for mankind along the way.
Developing and manufacturing custom made products for disabled children was a real way of manifesting this way of life.
Collaborating Nicely with Colleagues — Keeping an open mind to new ideas and always being ready to consider a new way of looking at a problem is essential to success.
One of the startups that I was involved in was developing a product for mechanically ventilated patients in the ICU. We had completed the R&D but it didn’t meet the submission requirements of the FDA.
A new idea for a totally new design came up that would enable the FDA submission. Adopting this new design made it possible to submit AND get the FDA approval AND complete an M&A deal with Teleflex.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about the tech tools that you are helping to create that can make a positive impact on our wellness. To begin, which particular problems are you aiming to solve?
Dimoveo addresses the challenge of patients suffering from Post-TKA infection where the current standard of care is ineffective. DAIR (Debridement, Antibiotics, & Implant Retentions), the current gold standard for treating a knee infection that develops following a surgery, has a 50% failure rate, and is only applicable for two-thirds of all cases. A 2nd line of treatment, Revision Surgery, has a 25% failure rate. These can deteriorate and even end up being devastating to the patient, for example — a leg amputation.
How do you think your technology can address this?
Part of the reason current treatments for post knee-surgery infections fail is because of a biofilm that develops to protect the bacteria that latches on to the surgical site post-operation. Dimoveo is developing a device that will clean and remove this biofilm from the surgical cavity surrounding an implant, so that the bacteria can thereafter be killed with standard antibiotics.
Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?
This is a high impact field causing one of the most devastating effects on the quality of life of patients going through the medical system. The FDA has acknowledged PJI (Periprosthetic Joint Infection) as a leading unsolved medical concern.
How do you think this might change the world?
There is nothing nice about an infection. We’ve all had them and hopefully have been treated successfully.
The issue is when antibiotics can’t reach and kill the infection in question. The situation grows worse, the pain increases, and different adverse side effects result. Not a pretty picture.
Dimoveo’s technology is in development to fix this problem and improve the quality of life of the thousands of patients suffering from infection following knee and other joint surgeries. Our technology will also be developed in the future to treat other types of infections and conditions.
Residual nano particles may be a drawback. However, we use particles approved for internal use in humans in much bigger quantities.
Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, can you please share “Five things you need to know to successfully create technology that can make a positive social impact”?
When you are developing a new technology you need to ask yourself five major questions. The answers to these will help define your chances of success.
- How major is the problem? — How many people does it affect and to which degree? The infection problem described above affects 1.5% of all knee joint surgeries and impacts the lives of tens of thousands of patients every year in the USA alone.
- How advanced is the technology? — You want to pick a technology that is novel but ripe enough to mature and get to market quickly enough. In Dimoveo’s case, the novelty of the technology is in the nano-particles used in the cleaning process. Both the use of ultrasound energy and nanoparticles are safe.
- How safe is it? Medical doctors have an oath that states: first “do no harm”. This also applies to entrepreneurs. Both of the elements used in Dimoveo’s technology — ultrasound and nanoparticles — are safe and are already used in different medical technologies and applications. So the law of do no harm is fulfilled. We have completed an animal study, which has shown promising results in terms of efficacy and safety.
- Is there a good industry fit? The performance of the technology should be equal to or surpass the deliverables of the current standard of care in a respective field. As an example, Dimoveo’s technology is not interfering with the standard of care procedure, but rather is simply improving and streamlining it.
- How much does it cost? The technology should enable the creation of a product that is competitively priced with existing or other solutions in development and that is within the cost expectations of the payer. Again, in the case of Dimoveo’s product, the hospital will benefit from a tremendous cost savings for each patient — in the range of 24,000 USD per patient.
If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
The process is highly rewarding as an individual. It also helps you grow your capabilities and expand your network and skills on many different levels like no other career opportunity.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)
I would like to have a private breakfast with Bill Gates. He has combined business success with doing good in the world especially for underprivileged people in third world nations,
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Follow us on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/dimoveo-medical/about/
Visit our website: https://dimoveomedical.com/
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success in your important work.
About The Interviewer: David Leichner is a veteran of the Israeli high-tech industry with significant experience in the areas of cyber and security, enterprise software and communications. At Cybellum, a leading provider of Product Security Lifecycle Management, David is responsible for creating and executing the marketing strategy and managing the global marketing team that forms the foundation for Cybellum’s product and market penetration. Prior to Cybellum, David was CMO at SQream and VP Sales and Marketing at endpoint protection vendor, Cynet. David is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Jerusalem Technology College. He holds a BA in Information Systems Management and an MBA in International Business from the City University of New York.