Life360 Innovations: A Holistic Approach to Dealing with Incontinence
Follow Life360 Innovations on :
Robert ORR, President, CEO and Chairman Everyone faces hardships and difficulties at one point of time or another. The difference between most people and Ken Kunz is that he doesn’t let his problems get the best of him. In fact, it was one such instance that led Kunz, a tenacious and inventive problem-solver, to conceptualize the idea for his company, Life360 Innovations. At the age of 76, Kunz was diagnosed with prostate cancer and post-treatment, he suffered from urinary incontinence (UI). This affected Kunz’s life to the extent that he started avoiding social gatherings. While the standard treatment options, such as disposable pads, catheters, penile clamps and collection devices helped him control his bladder problem, they failed to fully address the issues of lost dignity and lost confidence that accompany the condition. On top of that, the standard options led to several other concerns. For instance, the pads became bulky once they were full, resulting in leakage and odor; the external catheters had to be continually emptied; and the penile clamps caused swelling, circulatory issues, skin rashes, and urethral scarring.
Determined to find a more acceptable, positive and comfortable solution, Kunz designed a rudimentary product that “plugs the drain.” Applying his learning and understanding of hydraulics and fluidics, he created the initial Contino prototype that was a comfortable, economical, reusable, and non-invasive device that could be self-inserted into the urethra to temporarily control bladder leaks. After successfully using it on himself—without any infections, discomfort or complications—Kunz decided to commercialize his innovation and try to change the lives of his fellow male UI sufferers. Joining hands with his friend, Russ Orr and Robert Orr, a seasoned corporate development strategist with over 25 years of public practice and executive experience, they co-founded Life360 Innovations, a Vancouver, BC-based medical devices company that specializes in manufacturing and distributing products for UI.
A Smart Approach to a Chronic Condition
Orr, who currently serves as the president, CEO, and chair of the company, says “Initially, we were focused on the filing and prosecution of the first U.S. patent but over time we decided to fully transform the prototype and develop it into a licensed medical device. We partnered with the MAKE Group, at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, to redevelop the ‘proof of principle’ prototype into a functional, clinically-ready prototype using their ISO 13485 certified medical device development process.” After more than eight years of extensive R&D and numerous trials and redevelopment, including a five-year, multi-site Canadian clinical study, Life360 Innovations received the Health Canada approval for Contino in late 2018.
Today, Contino is touted as a first-of-its-kind, non-surgical, self-administered medical device that controls bladder leakage in men. Much more than just a device, it is an integrated solution that includes personalized fitting and support from experienced incontinence medical professionals, allowing men to ‘get on with life.’
Contino is currently available in Canada through an expanding network of ‘Contino Authorized Clinics’ that are owned and operated by independent medical professionals who are experienced in treating UI (such as physiotherapists, nurses, and doctors).
An Effective Alternative and a True Game-Changer
According to recent industry reports, it is estimated that around 3.5 million Canadians suffer from UI, of which approximately one-third are men. In other words, approximately 10 percent of the Canadian population experiences some form of UI. Similar statistics apply in the U.S. and other parts of the world. According to the Wall Street Journal, research by the Urology Care Foundation (Nov. 2018) revealed that one in four men over the age of 40 experience UI in the U.S.
It is an easy-to-use device that can be self-inserted into the urethra and removed prior to urination. It can be easily cleaned before reinsertion or storage and each device can be used for up to 30 days
Unfortunately, many UI sufferers don’t seek the help they need. This is because UI is a distressing and complex medical condition that can have a significant impact on an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Regardless of the type of UI, the adverse effects on an individual can be severe and can lead to embarrassment, lack of ease in social situations, deterioration of self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. The existing solutions for men are not that diverse or effective. In Canada, the impacts of the shortcomings are being underwritten by the Canadian health system.
"The Contino urethral insert is the tangible product in our offering, while the fitting and support services surrounding it are the intangibles. Together, they deliver the integrated solution that our brand offers, resulting in a more complete and satisfying customer experience"
Contino was designed keeping all of this in mind, and today, the device serves as an effective alternative that not only helps prevent leakage but can also help alleviate tertiary impacts of the symptoms of UI. In contrast to the existing solutions, the urethral insert device keeps urine in the body until the user is ready to void it. “It is an easy-to-use device that can be self-inserted into the urethra and removed prior to urination. It can be easily cleaned before reinsertion or storage and each device can be used for up to 30 days,” adds Orr. By helping individuals deal with their urinary incontinence, Contino gives them back the freedom to travel and enjoy physical and social activities, as they did before UI. Moreover, the device controls urinary stress incontinence without the use of medications or surgery. In some cases, urine leakage stops entirely, allowing men to be completely free of having to use pads or other incontinence protection products.
A Three-Pronged, Client-Centered Process
Talking about how UI patients can get their hands on Contino, Orr explains, “The process starts with a personal assessment consultation with an independent medical professional experienced with UI who meets with the patient, discusses their needs, assesses whether Contino is suitable and offers a personalized fitting.” During the discussion, the trainer also observes the individual’s condition and, if appropriate, suggests certain behavior modifications and exercises that can help them manage their UI. Once Contino is considered right for the patient, the trainer will enroll the patient in a one-month trial that includes ongoing support and in-person follow-up visits. The trial costs $100 and is fully refundable if the user isn’t satisfied. Following the 30-day trial period, Contino becomes available as a subscription service, with a three month supply of products shipped directly to the customer each quarter. “It is a unique model; with a product-as-a-service kind of process,” adds Orr.
Currently, Contino has more than 50 international patents associated with it, is supported by unique distribution channels, and is set to enter the EU/UK market in 2021, followed by the U.S. in 2022.
When it comes to support options, Life360 Innovations provides a comprehensive training program for all of its on-boarded partner clinics, product brochures, video workshops and hands-on training that guide the clinic professionals and administrative staff on the device’s usage. Other tools, resources, and marketing materials are also available to the partner clinic, including peer workshops and mentoring.
“We have elicited support from leading experts in Canada to help us put the process and training together. We have leading physiotherapists and nurses in British Columbia who help us develop and deliver these training programs. Besides, it’s not just about training the underlying practitioners with our products, it’s ensuring that they have a robust understanding of the condition,” asserts Orr.
Life360 Innovations does not charge its partners any fees to be a Contino Authorised Clinic. “The Contino urethral insert is the tangible product in our offering, while the fitting and support services surrounding it are the intangibles. Together, they deliver the integrated solution that our brand offers, resulting in a more complete and satisfying customer experience,” remarks Paul Moore, VP of finance and operations, Life360 Innovations.
Today, the major Canadian benefits providers, such as Green Shield Canada, Canada Life, Desjardins, Manulife and Sun Life, cover Contino as an eligible reimbursable expense. In addition, many of the Canadian provinces have programs that bear part or all of the cost of Contino. Contino is generally considered an eligible health expenditure by tax authorities and may be tax-deductible, depending on the user’s tax circumstances.
Paving the Way for a Better Future
Notably, Life360 Innovations is currently investing in clinical studies to expand indications for the use of its products and to clinically prove other potential medical benefits. The company is presently in the midst of officially launching Contino in British Columbia and has nine incontinence clinic partners in that province, with discussions underway with several others. In addition, Life360 Innovations is continuing with enrollment into its post-market clinical follow-up study, with multiple sites in Toronto, Ontario, and plans to have at least 75 clinics across Canada in short order.
Another significant aspect of Life360 Innovations is its proficient management team and a robust medical advisory board. According to Orr, each member’s contributions have been instrumental in helping the firm develop its clinically-proven, discreet and convenient solution for male incontinence. Andrew Tinkl, who serves as the VP of marketing and sales, has over 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry working with major global brands. Andrew has many perspectives on how to undertake the challenges of creating a successful healthcare business that is centered on ensuring the best possible outcome for patients and their care providers. Nicole Ranger, the VP of engineering, brings over 25 years of experience in medical device and consumer product development. In addition, Nicole has extensive know-how in the manufacture of medical devices and in maintaining ISO and QSR compliant quality systems.
“The key to our achievements so far has been our relentless focus on the customer’s requirements. Some of the other pillars include a complete quality management system that is compliant with Canadian, EU, and U.S. regulations; a scalable manufacturing process; and the protection of our brands and intellectual property,” states Orr.
The next step for Life360 Innovations is to grow its business. The company is looking to enter the European and U.S. markets and is working on having its products approved by the respective regulatory bodies. The company also has plans to establish partnering arrangements in Japan, China, and Korea. In terms of broadening its offerings, Life360 Innovations is considering the fecal incontinence market and is adding medical devices within the urology space to its suite of products. As well, “we have preliminary product designs for the female UI market and hope to move forward with those soon” asserts Orr.
Having urinary incontinence doesn’t need to reduce the quality of one’s life. With a partner like Life360 Innovations and its unique offering, Contino, individuals can get back to doing the activities they enjoy, without feeling self-conscious!
Management Robert ORR, President, CEO and Chairman
Description Life360 Innovations develops, manufactures, and distributes medical devices and products for urinary incontinence. Today, its product, Contino, is touted as a first-of-its-kind, licensed, self-administered medical device that controls bladder leakage in men. Much more than just a device, it is an integrated solution that includes personalized fitting and support from incontinence specialists so that men can get on with life. Contino is currently available in Canada through an expanding network of ‘Contino Authorized Clinics,’ owned and operated by independent medical professionals (such as physiotherapists, nurses, and doctors) experienced in treating UI
This content is copyright protected
However, if you would like to share the information in this article, you may use the link below: