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Verve People
January 18, 2017

Surbhi Sarna Wants Her Medical Company To Empower Patients

Text by Zaral Shah. Photograph by Michele Beckwith

The founder and CEO of nVision Medical talks about how her personal experiences shaped her work

She was just a teenager when she had her first encounter with painful ovarian cysts. Over time, though, the cysts dissolved on their own. Surbhi Sarna went on to study molecular and cell biology and bioengineering, and has continued working towards improving diagnostics and resolving obstacles in the way of diagnosing ovarian cancer. Stemming from personal experience and her work at UC Berkeley, her company nVision Medical’s goal is to create technologies to detect the disease earlier.

“Ovarian cancer is the most lethal of the gynaecologic cancers and is called the ‘silent killer’…. When diagnosed in Stage I, there is an 89 per cent chance of five-year survival — emphasising the importance of new methods for earlier detection. Today, there are over two million women at high risk of developing the disease in the US alone. At present, there are no effective procedures for early detection or definitive differential diagnosis at early stages prior to surgical intervention.”

“Make sure you know the answers to all the questions people might ask. Medical devices is a hard field to raise money in. There is very little venture funding available. It is essential to be very well prepared for any meeting. It’s a constant challenge but I feel very lucky to have found investors who support our vision and plans.”

“I have more grit now. I know how to hang in there, even when the going gets tough. I’ve come to realise that most things pass, including the difficult phases, if you’re smart, find quick solutions and, more importantly, work hard. I’ve loved every part of my journey and learned a lot from it.”

“I try to go to India at least once every five years. My family is in Chandigarh, and WhatsApp and Facebook are amazing ways to stay in touch with everyone. I was there a few months ago for my cousin’s wedding, which was fun.”

“I hope to see connected medicine that empowers patients in the future! I also cannot wait for our product to be on the market, saving lives.”

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