Jasper Schootstra, Co-Founder, SJJ Solutions BV
Healthcare is an effort to nurture patients towards good health. Considering that there are thousands of diverse illnesses affecting innumerable people in very complex ways, doctors encounter many challenges. For huge institutions and initiatives when lots of people and complex processes are common, the challenge becomes treating patients in an optimal way to maximize patient’s safety and improve care continuously through most effective treatments, tooling, equipment and processes.
While a large part of the world has become more and more used to excess of literally everything, this abundance is also relevant for medicines we use on a daily basis. However, as society is so used to this, the challenge of reducing medicine wastage has not been given any serious attention over the recent decades.
Let’s consider the common syringe availed by countless doctors, nurses, surgeons and veterinarians today. It’s one of the most popular and easily available medical items. But there is a huge drawback: each time a standard syringe is availed, a certain portion of its content is lost because of its design and structure. Considering that most of us everywhere are dependent on standard syringes, we are incurring a huge loss of medicine!
Emerging from a Desire to Solve the Medicinal Wastage Crisis
Jasper Schootstra and his family, coming from many years of experience in healthcare, observed this concern years ago. Being well educated and acquainted with the profession, they identified the issue of medicine spillage and started developing devices and tools that can reduce medicinal wastage as much as possible, while not compromising on quality, ease of use and patient safety. The primarily focus has been on small volume injections, as wastage is in some case a multiple of an actual dose. All in all, the desire to solve the medicinal wastage crisis has been a central theme for Jasper and his family for the last couple of years.
This guided them to establishing ‘SJJ Solutions B.V.’, in the Netherlands, in 2018. Jasper’s relationship with healthcare today comes from his father. His father established Netherlands’ first large scale compounding pharmacy outside a hospital and he was known for his passion and drive to improve healthcare processes. His entrepreneurial spirit has been inspiring Jasper, from childhood, to invite creativity, innovation and persistence in his own journey.
During his formal education and career in a blue chip corporation, Jasper received a precious, life-changing opportunity to work with his family in the medical and pharmacy context. This experience taught him ways to improve the holistic healthcare process and patient care, providing him a solid basis to support healthcare in tangible ways.
“Costs in healthcare have dramatically risen worldwide. To save money, we need to make use of medicine more effectively. Ordinary syringes always have residual volume left in them when they are thrown away. Our father recognized this and searched for a better approach. Me and my brothers were fascinated with this idea. All of us combined our knowledge and experience to drive our quest to solve medicinal wastage where possible”, Jasper says.
SJJ Solutions’s purpose is to improve healthcare, primarily through innovative products that minimize medicinal wastage. Years ago, they developed the first generation of a new and innovative syringe trademarked as the ‘Zero Residual™’ syringe for small volume injections for ophthalmologists. Because such doctors perform intravitreal injections i.e., a delicate injection given into a patient’s eyes, they require high quality products to ensure safe and reliable treatments. The development of additional products has resulted in the Zero Residual™ concept, with the core of the concept still being the Zero Residual™ 0.3mL syringe.
Since developing their first generation syringes, the company has grown immensely. In addition to ophthalmologists, they provide services to new clients: compounding pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, vaccination centers and governments. Alongside, their services have received excellent feedback from everyone applauding their valuable contribution the betterment of healthcare in general.
Innovations to Improve Healthcare Profoundly
“Zero Residual™ syringes allow doctors to dose medicines accurately and secure control throughout injections, without compromising safety or wastage. Its zero residual volume guarantees an optimal return on investments, allowing medicine to be utilized very efficiently. Considering the value of the medicine saved and the extra doses created, our products often come at no cost to our clients,” Mr. Jasper says.
SJJ Solutions has successfully implemented the Zero Residual™ concept for intravitreal treatments (i.e. eye treatment) and Covid-19 vaccinations. With respect to the ongoing coronavirus vaccinations, standard syringes permit five to six dozes per vial of the Pfizer-BionTech vaccine. But in stark contrast, Zero Residual™ syringes permits at least seven dozes of vaccinations per vial of the same vaccine, just by reducing spillage to an absolute minimum. It has allowed vaccinators to vaccinate at a higher pace as, in some cases, they suddenly had up to 50% additional doses available based on the vaccine available to them. This is also a good example of how valuable and/or scarce medicines, in this case vaccines, can be utilized in a more responsible and sustainable manner. Every dose that ends up in the bin could potentially have protected someone from the virus; therefore the more people we can vaccinate with the available resources and by doing this increase vaccination capacity, the faster the pandemic can be controlled.Considering dangers of the new virus to billions of people and the acute challenge of extending vaccinations to everyone, Zero Residual™ syringes are critically helpful to healthcare as well as society in general.
Late 2020 warnings were sent out regarding the use and of certain syringes for intravitreal injections, because of high particle counts identified in ordinary syringes. The reason for this mainly lies with the design and materials that these ordinary syringes are made of. This quality aspect has caused lots of unrest in the market. In this context the efforts of SJJ Solutions to provide the best-in-class treatment option for example ophthalmologists has paid off as well. As SJJ Solutions carefully selected high quality medical-grade materials, they were able to develop high quality products and proof this through testing by third party labs. The Zero Residual™ syringe and needle comply with the requirements of the USP 788 and 789 (the equivalent in the European Pharmacopeia is chapter 2.9.19), meaning they show very low particle counts and release of silicone oil droplets.
This is the only syringe in the world with a detachable needle without residual volume after injection. It’s at least 3.5 times more accurate than a standard 1 mL syringe. To accommodate preferences of the users, both a Luer Lock as Luer Slip version are available.The concept also allows to pre-fill syringes without any air bubbles to minimize the risk of agitation by flicking at the point of care. Thanks to saving precious resources and realizing improved healthcare provision, the Zero Residual™ syringe is amore sustainable alternative to standard syringes.
Guiding Healthcare towards a Better Future
SJJ Solutions was formally established in 2018 and over time, they’ve grown greatly. Their services have present throughout the Netherlands, they’ve developed newer innovative products, established a strong academic partnerships with the Oslo University and another research group, and started international collaborations. In addition to their medical devices, they provide a variety of tools dedicated to compounding pharmacies. SJJ Solutions increased our production capacity significantly, from hundreds and thousands per year to many millions. The company went in a relatively short time from being a regular start-up to an international business. Especially the Covid-19 application has boosted our
Looking at the future many more opportunities lay ahead for SJJ Solutions. Because Zero Residual™ syringes are one of the most accurate syringes available today, they have become popular with small volume medicine developers like mRNA, gene therapies and others. “Innovation at SJJ Solutions is continuing, we are developing new innovative products and concepts which are ultimately aimed to create and set higher standards when it comes to patient safety in certain markets. We are confident that we will be reliable innovating partner for our clients and provide them the devices and tools for best-in-class treatment,” Jasper concludes.