From The Kitchen Table To NASA Funding
Skincare Technology From Our Kitchen Table to NASA Funding
Medical Breakthrough Meets Skincare Technology
Since meeting over a decade ago, Madhavi and I have been through a lot together—both as Droplette co-founders and friends. From a young age, both of us have been passionate about translating health and wellness technologies from the lab into the hands of users who can really benefit from them. Throughout our careers, we’ve been fortunate enough to do impactful research in fields such as drug discovery (Madhavi invented a drug that was granted the first FDA designation for pediatric heart disease since 1994), medical diagnostics (Rathi earned her PhD in biomarkers and point-of-care diagnostics for resource-limited settings), and neuroscience. We’ve always dreamed of solving big problems that can truly improve people’s lives.
Droplette was originally a project born on Madhavi’s kitchen table. We had just returned from a rare disease conference where we had learned about a debilitating skin disease called Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). In people suffering from this rare genetic disease (which disproportionately affects pediatric patients), the skin will not adhere to the muscle underneath due to a single missing gene. It causes immensely painful wounds that make even a dressing or ointment too painful to apply.
We got to wondering: what if we could painlessly deliver the missing gene or even drugs like pain relievers or antibiotics into the skin of these patients? We bought some electronic components from eBay and got to work. While experimenting with the prototypes we’d built at home, we stumbled upon some really fascinating fluid physics phenomena that could significantly enhance delivery of drugs across the skin. We filed our first patent, started looking for funding, and were thrilled when our first grant for Droplette came from NASA—the fluid physics excited them, too.
More than Medical Use
Although Droplette’s technology began as a painless, needle-free delivery solution that could hopefully one-day cure EB, we quickly realized that it also had applications in everyday skincare. (Despite this new path, we never abandoned our original mission: we’re currently supported by the NIH in continuing our EB research and have partnered with Walter Reed Army Institute to use Droplette to treat blast wounds on soldiers in the field).
Madhavi and I have both had our share of skincare issues, including acne, hyperpigmentation, dry skin, and scarring. We’ve tried endless over-the-counter products, and amid the vast, confusing assortment filled with lofty promises, found that most of them don’t really work or offer a holistic solution. Topical skincare doesn’t absorb deeply enough, other at-home skincare devices can cause infection, scarring, and inflammation, and advanced dermatology procedures can be painful, invasive, and inconvenient. We knew the Droplette technology could solve all of these issues while effectively delivering tried and true ingredients into the skin, and wanted to bring it to consumers.
The Evolution of our Skincare Technology
We’ve worked on engineering and optimizing this technology for many years, and have spoken with countless physicians, drug delivery experts, and end users along the way. The device itself went through dozens of iterations until we perfected the form factor, feel, and efficacy. Alongside the device, we’ve spent years in the lab developing our formulations, tweaking ingredients and concentrations to ensure they only included what was essential to achieve the best results for your skin. We’ve built an amazing team and are fortunate to work with some of the world’s best advisors and experts including Dr. Leonard Miller, Dr. Rox Anderson, and Dr. Samir Mitragotri. We believe that our technology has successfully tackled the two biggest challenges in skincare delivery: pain and effectiveness. We are so excited to finally bring the medical-grade power of Droplette into the hands of consumers like you!