Dr. Scott Parazynski is a physician, NASA astronaut, explorer, pilot, diver and mountaineer. He's also a prolific inventor driven to solve unmet needs in healthcare, much like the Innovation Lab. Scott was presented with an opportunity to innovate while recovering from knee surgery in 2014, after years of pursuing extreme adventures. As a physician, he knew that alternating cold/hot therapy is a commonly prescribed method to mitigate pain and promote healing, but he was frustrated by the lack of effective “hot & cold” products on the market. No products adequately conformed to the injured joint and held the right temperature for the appropriate amount of time, partially due to poor thermal transfer, limited surface area coverage and unwanted condensation. He believed there had to be a better way and set out to find a better solution.
Having plenty of experience dealing with “Apollo 13” type moments, he became inspired to create a next generation hot & cold therapy product. He leveraged his NASA experience managing complex thermal management systems to create the prototype that we plugged into our rigorous evaluation and iterative prototyping framework. Together we developed the Conformal Thermal Pack that combines a proprietary shape and fill chemistry to deliver optimal therapeutic temperature for the appropriate amount of time. Core design elements are covered by a pending PCT patent application (PCT US2016/043737).
As a NASA astronaut and extreme explorer, Dr. Parazynski experienced, first hand, life threatening thermal management challenges of extreme environments like space. His recent recovery from knee surgery (back on Earth) highlighted the lack of options on the market for applying heat and cold therapy to the injured joint with the optimal contact points and temperature profile. He was convinced that there had to be a better way, so he set out to create a better product in collaboration with Innovation Lab.
The market for hot and cold therapy packs in the US is approaching 1 billion dollars, driven largely by aging demographics and an increase in the number of individuals leading active lifestyles. We are in the final stages of negotiating a license agreement with a global manufacturer / distributor. We expect to see the product on shelves of major pharmacy outlets and other US retailers by 2018. In addition to direct to consumer retail distribution, we are also pursuing direct to provider channels through alternative approaches. Projected Net Proceeds from this product are $3-5M (10-year) and $7-10M (lifetime).
About the Innovator
Dr. Scott Parazynski graduated from Stanford Medical School and trained at Harvard and in Denver in emergency medicine and trauma. He has numerous publications in the field of space physiology with particular expertise in human adaptation to stressful environments. He was selected to join NASA’s Astronaut Corps and flew five Space Shuttle Missions and conducted seven spacewalks over 17 years. Scott also held numerous senior leadership roles, led the first joint US-Russian spacewalk and served as Senator John Glenn’s personal physician. In May of 2016 Scott was inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame. Scott is a life-long SCUBA diver, pilot and accomplished mountaineer. In 2009, he scaled Mt. Everest to become the first (and only) astronaut to stand on top of the world! Scott is a prolific inventor and product developer, and serves on the boards of several organizations and companies. He is a University Explorer and Professor of Practice at Arizona State University and recipient of several prestigious awards (too many to list).