This summer, Evvie Bond ՚26 (Stuttgart, Germany), Shelly Bai (Las Vegas) ՚25, and Chloe Ke ՚26 (Shanghai) took on the challenging project of launching a product that aims to help people safely use epinephrine auto-injectors (such as Epipens) in medical emergencies.
The product, Agent Epi, is an allergy medicine case that uses Bluetooth tracking and temperature control to provide a more user-friendly experience for people with allergies. The origin of the idea was 2022’s Macathon, where the team spent a twenty-four-hour period brainstorming a new patent for a cheaper and easier-to-use auto-injector.
“We wanted to weave in technology with these other features into the case to improve the quality of life for people with allergies,” said Bai, a psychology major.
After taking third place at Macathon, they expanded development of their product through MacStartups, a ten-week program that provides student entrepreneurs with resources including stipends, coaching, and industry mentors.
Alongside tracking and temperature control, the auto-injector case also has other important features that help first responders assist the patient during a reaction.
“The case includes an emergency medical ID card that details important information for first responders like the patient’s date of birth, insurance number, and their allergies,” said Bond, a biology and English double major with a minor in Chinese. Additionally, the case contains an easy step-by-step guide on how to use an auto-injector for people who aren’t medically trained.
The students emphasized how allergen-susceptible individuals can often forget to bring their auto-injector and how this trend is the main reason they chose this project.
“Our goal is to capitalize on the technology at our disposal in order to create a product that will improve the lives of people with allergies. Life-saving medication is useless if you don’t have it on you,” Bai said.
Launching a product like Agent Epi meant navigating a number of legal and logistical challenges, including coordinating and communicating with manufacturers in China and ensuring that the product did not violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). A crucial part to their success was the advice and aid they received from the alumni community.
“Whenever we had a question or concern, we always had someone to reach out to that could either help us or connect us with other professionals,” Bai said.
“We are very grateful for the Macalester alumni community. They were vital to this project,” said Bond.
Throughout the program, the team learned a great deal from their troubleshooting process that contributed both to their product and their growth as individuals.
“Because of the nature of the program, we developed skills with communicating and reaching out to people, as well as seeing flaws in products and brainstorming ideas,” Bai said.
“We all became more confident with public speaking,” Bond said. “It comes more naturally now, and we are able to pitch a brand new idea in a vulnerable state to then receive criticism and feedback to build off of.”
The team is excited that the trial period of their product is being launched shortly on Etsy, and that they will be able to physically see their hard work.
“I hope that our project can inspire the development of more solutions that aim to address the invisible struggles that people with allergies face, and I’m excited to see its impact on their lives,” Bai said.
November 8 2023Back to top