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The story of a medical innovator passionate about women empowerment

Recent advances, development and education have helped the world in realizing that full, fair and equal participation of women is not only the need of the hour, but rather, a mandate that guarantees success and growth in the economy. A recent study by McKinsey Global Institute found that advancing women’s equality could add $12 trillion to the global economy in 2025. However, according to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, only 16% of women own small and medium-sized Canadian businesses and so, it is important for the entire ecosystem to create pathways to resources, customers, capital and opportunities to create an equal playing field. Forging a space to empower women to pursue their careers in STEM or business while revolutionizing the medtech and life sciences industry with her innovation, Dr. Asha Parekh, CEO and Co-Founder of FrontLine Medical Technologies Inc. and member of TechAlliance’s Board of Directors, is truly changing the game on both fronts.

Innovator of the smallest life-saving bleeding control device, Dr. Parekh leads a mission of improving patient care through COBRA-OS, a device that temporarily alters the blood flow in the body to help critical patients survive emergency situations. With a PhD in Biomedical Engineering, Dr. Parekh transitioned to entrepreneurship when she realized that her project with then research partner and now, Co-Founder, Dr. Adam Power, had the potential of becoming a fully commercialized product. With a wide variety of applications in different emergency and critical care scenarios, the device works on blocking the aorta temporarily to ensure that the patient has enough blood in their system to survive until they can receive medical care. After that care, the device is simply removed. “The application of this device is what makes it more interesting. From trauma, whether it be among civilians or military on the battlefield, to stopping excessive bleeding due to postpartum hemorrhage, COBRA-OS can be used in a bunch of scenarios,” said Dr. Parekh. This Control Of Bleeding, Resuscitation, Arterial Occlusion System (COBRA-OS) has a unique design with robust structure and smaller size to provide quick, complication-free and definitive hemorrhage control at the fingertips of medical professionals. Dr. Parekh shares other useful and life-changing applications of this device, “Another exciting application, that is non-bleeding, is cardiac arrest. By blocking the aorta and performing CPR, a patient who has suffered cardiac arrest is much more likely to return to spontaneous circulation and possibly survive.”

For a lot of entrepreneurs today, the journey comes to them naturally. They stumble upon it in the process of pursuing their passion or solving a problem that they have faced in their day-to-day lives. For Dr. Parekh, it was a mix of the best of both worlds, “My business partner, Dr. Adam Power, is a vascular surgeon and so he realized the need for such a device, early on, as a way of improving patient care. Both of us are very passionate about innovation and it is still a bit crazy to think that what started out as a research project has now become a commercialized device.” Reflecting upon her entrepreneurial journey so far, Dr. Parekh candidly shares that she had never dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur, but it has become the most rewarding career that she has ever had, “I don’t think I would have made this jump into entrepreneurship had it not been for the positive impact that this project was going to create in the world and the people I was working with to achieve this goal. It was truly an opportunity I couldn’t not take a risk on!” As someone who is an engineer by trade and a constant learner by choice, business and entrepreneurship proved to be a new challenge for Dr. Parekh, a field of study that had to be learned, tackled and conquered.

The challenge, however, looked a bit different for her as she now also carried the responsibility of being an advocate and inspiration for women entrepreneurs, especially in the fields of STEM, life cciences and engineering, “Despite changing times, women still often tend to be less vocal and need some encouragement, a little push; to fully embrace what they want to do with themselves in their respective field.” Realizing this sooner than later, Dr. Parekh started getting involved in a variety of women-related projects and initiatives to help encourage women aspiring to build their careers as entrepreneurs or in the field of STEM. Apart from motivational talks, seminars and workshops, Dr. Parekh has found her true calling in mentorship, “It will never get old when someone says that I’ve helped them reach a goal, or that my story has inspired them to act on something – that is part of why this is so rewarding and why we give back. We’re empowering others and enabling them to give their best to this world!”

Celebrating this year’s International Women’s Day by #EmbracingEquity, Dr. Parekh shares what it truly means for her and her team, “To put it simply, we are all human beings that have different strengths in different ways, and equity is empowering and appreciating those differences equally. Historically, women have been underrepresented and under appreciated, and so, it makes it that much more important for women to be given equity as a platform to shine to their fullest potential – that’s how we’ll make the most impactful contributions to society.” 

Encouraging women and women entrepreneurs to be bold, brave and their authentic selves, Dr. Parekh believes in the power of being true to oneself and hopes that women all around the globe pursue their passion to give their best to this world.

To learn more about FrontLine Medical Technologies Inc. or their life-changing device COBRA-OS, visit https://frontlinemedtech.com/ 

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