Mir Imran is always on a hunt to solve big problems via startups

Far from the image of today’s entrepreneur is 59-year-old Mir Imran who not only starts one company every year but saves lives with biomedical products and inventions.

Economic Times reported Imran has been starting one company every year for the last 25 years through his applied research lab InCube in San Jose, the 'capital' of Silicon Valley.

Imran, who has studied at All Saints High School in Hyderabad before moving to New Jersey, also holds over 400 US patents and thousands of international patents, and has sold about 15 medical technology companies in his career.

"I'm always hunting for big problems to solve," Imran told the financial daily.

When asked why he sticks to medical technology, as it is a space clogged with regulatory constraints, Imran said, "I guess I'm a sucker for punishment."

He was recently in the limelight for having hit upon the holy grail of drug delivery: a pill which can potentially eliminate the need for painful injections.

ET reported that Rani Therapeutics has built a mechanism to deliver a drug orally- instead of daily painful injections- for conditions including diabetes and multiple sclerosis. The company, which raised about $25 million (Rs 160 crore) in a round led by Google Ventures and Novartis, has tied up with the latter to test their range of drugs on its pill.

Imran's company is bypassing the use of big needles by packing a bunch of small needles in a little capsule. The drugs are carried in sugar needles, which in turn are deceptively hidden in the capsule.

"We can embed any biologic drug on our platform," Imran told ET, who named the company Rani Therapeutics after his mother, the one who moulded his engineering skills.

Imran has been in the Silicon Valley for the past 30 years, and never held a fascination for practising medicine. Equipped with a biomedical engineering, Imran could not come to terms with the memorising medical terms and diseases all-day long.

"For me, trained as an engineer, where most things have clear explanations and are deterministic, this was a big frustration when I was at medical school," he told the financial daily.

He dropped out of medical school in his third year, and decided to use his engineering skills to identify and solve medical problems.

His earliest contribution dates back to the 1980s where he developed the intellectual property behind the automatic implantable defibrillator, a device implanted in the chest to prevent sudden death from cardiac arrest due to abnormally fast heart rhythms.

"I have not met him, but I'm a great admirer. The defibrillator he invented has saved millions of life. .. a great scientist and entrepreneur," said Devi Shetty, chairman and founder, Narayana Health.

As for India, Imran says the space has to pick up in terms of innovation, and has not visited in the recent past.

"Companies in this field take 8-10 years to mature, and needs about $100-200 million runway before it starts showing results. Indian investors do not have the stomach for it," added Imran.
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