For Allergy Sufferers, Treatment Is Now At Hand
FEBRUARY 11, 2016
By GREGORY ZELLER //
Most allergy-related emergencies stem from some simple problem. When a patient can’t find his auto-injector, or doesn’t know how to use it, or the medication inside is expired, bad things happen.
Collectively called anaphylaxis, allergic reactions can be life-threatening events with a frighteningly fast onset. But modern medical science can stand toe-to-toe – if patients know how to store, access and apply the proper tools, according to Dr. Gregory Puglisi, a board-certified allergist and entrepreneur.
To that end, Puglisi has created MyEpiID, a line of simple and affordable solutions that address the familiar stumbling blocks confounding the proper and timely use of epinephrine auto-injectors.
The MyEpiID Sleeve, which attaches to a belt and allows a patient to carry up to two EAIs, and the MyEpiID Cradle, which allows easy storage of injectors and related materials, both include personal identifier cards that make vital patient and medication information easily accessible, as well as clear visual and written instructions for injector use.
The cradle is also outfitted with hidden magnets, allowing for right-there storage on a refrigerator, classroom whiteboard or other visible location.
Puglisi, part of the Mid Island Allergy Group in Babylon and Plainview, leveraged personal and professional experiences when designing the MyEpiID line. Many of his patients are at risk from anaphylaxis and he also has a son who’s afflicted with food allergies. Those experiences – including “countless stories of reactions gone wrong” – helped Puglisi conceive a system to raise understanding of, and access to, auto-injectors.
“I recognized the missteps that occur when treating anaphylaxis,” he noted. “So I came up with a product that removed the barriers.”
Although he knew what he wanted MyEpiID to accomplish, Puglisi’s early plan needed some work. At first, his intention was to find someone to license and manufacture the product line, but when that didn’t pan out he approached Bethpage graphic designer Design Edge and its chief executive, Matt Nuccio.
“Matt definitely helped,” Puglisi said. “Design Edge was able to put things together in a way that was inexpensive enough that this could actually be manufactured and distributed.
“The goal was always to have these broadly distributed,” he added. “So we needed these to be inexpensive items, as well as very valuable items.”
Design Edge saw the potential – Puglisi “has a great story and a great product,” Nuccio told Innovate LI – and now, with production being handled by Nuccio’s manufacturing subsidiary, Design Edge Global, MyEpiID products have hit the marketplace.
The products have been available online for about a month, while Puglisi has negotiated a purchase agreement with U.K. biotech giant Mylan NV, which will look to pair the MyEpiID products with its proprietary EpiPen.
“EpiPen is the market leader for the treatment of anaphylaxis,” Puglisi noted. “It looks like they’re going to utilize MyEpiID in some way, possibly through a carrying case initiative they’re starting.”
The allergist, meanwhile, is excited to see how his EAI innovation will affect anaphylaxis outcomes on a large scale.
“One of my patient’s sons ended up in the emergency room because he couldn’t find his EpiPen,” Puglisi said. “Another patient looked and looked for her EpiPen, and when she found it, it was expired.
“I feel things will be very different if patients know where their auto-injectors are, know the expiration dates and understand the instructions,” the innovator added. “When something goes wrong with anaphylaxis outcomes, it’s usually something like this.”