Use our updated search function to find exactly what you want to learn about!
  • Type to search or press enter for full results.
Type to search or press enter for full results.

 

 

Breakthrough at Home Pain and Mental Health Relief
Episode 661

Richard Hanbury, Founder at Sana Health, Inc

Breakthrough at Home Pain and Mental Health Relief

In this episode, we are privileged to host Richard Hanbury, founder of Sana Health, a neuromodulation platform for pain and deep relaxation. Richard shares about his accident, how his company got started, and how Sana Health helps people who are suffering from pain. He also discusses how his company is improving outcomes without negative side effects. We also cover the downstream impacts of Sana Health, especially for the employers or insurer. Richard also shares insights on overcoming challenges and things he’s looking forward to in healthcare. This is a fascinating conversation so please tune in!

Want to start your own podcast or have someone else manage yours professionally?

Don’t let technical busy work hold you back from sharing your genius!

Learn Now

Get The Latest In Your Inbox

SUBSCRIBE

Breakthrough at Home Pain and Mental Health Relief

Episode 661

About Richard 

Richard developed Sana’s neuromodulation platform to eradicate his own life-threatening pain problem following a spinal cord injury from a jeep crash in Yemen in 1992. It is now his life’s mission to help as many people as possible find relief. He previously founded a software startup, and before that worked for McKinsey. He has spent 28 years developing Sana’s technology from the original benchtop device to the current device undergoing clinical trials. 

What he most loves about leading Sana Health is hearing story after story from Sana users who say that Sana gave them their life back. Richard obtained an MBA from the Wharton School and a Diploma in Law from the College of Law London.

 

Breakthrough at Home Pain and Mental Health Relief with Richard Hanbury, Founder at Sana Health, Inc transcript powered by Sonix—easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

Breakthrough at Home Pain and Mental Health Relief with Richard Hanbury, Founder at Sana Health, Inc was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best audio automated transcription service in 2021. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

Saul Marquez:
Hey everyone, Saul Marquez here. Have you launched your podcast already and discovered what a pain it could be to keep up with editing, production, show notes, transcripts and operations? What if you could turn over the keys to your podcast busywork while you do the fun stuff like expanding your network and taking the industry stage? Let us edit your first episode for free so you can experience the freedom. Visit smoothpodcasting.com to learn more. That’s smooth podcasting.com to learn more.

Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the Outcomes Rocket Saul Marquez here, and today I have the privilege of hosting Richard Handbury. He is the founder of Sana Health, a neuromodulation platform for pain relief and deep relaxation. Richard developed the technology behind Sanha to eradicate his own life-threatening pain problem following a spinal cord injury from a Jeep crash near Sana’a in Yemen in 1992. Richard has an MBA from the Wharton School in health care and also a law degree from the College of Law in London. The original benchtop device removed all his nerve damage pain in three months, saving his life. He has spent twenty-five years developing the sound of technology from the original benchtop device to the current device undergoing clinical trials. Sana uses pulsed light and sound and a heart rate variability feedback loop to guide the user into a deep state of relaxation. Clinical trials have just been completed in opioid use disorders and fibromyalgia, and Sana is launching in fibromyalgia in 2021. However, it is available today and Richard is going to tell us more about it. And I’m just really excited to have the opportunity to interview Richard and have them bring forth this technology to the world. And so, Richard, such a pleasure to have you here today.

Richard Hanbury:
A pleasure to be here Saul, thank you.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. And so before we dive into Saana and it’s Sana.io folks, if you’re curious, tell us a little bit about you and what got you into health care.

Richard Hanbury:
Thank you. Yes. As a 19-year-old kid, I was traveling in Yemen and I was given a choice of a head-on collision in my jeep next to a petrol truck or to go off a bridge. And I chose to go off a bridge because I figured we were dead either way, there would be some remains to find if I went off the bridge. So down into the dry riverbed, 60 feet down, and the jeep crumpled up like a Coke can. And that results in spinal cord injuries from th to 10, which is probably about the level plus other injury and they all so all of that was why I then had to be medevac to back to the U.K. I was clinically dead for eight minutes, back from that into a coma. And then all of that resulted in the nerve damage pain problem that was so severe I was given a five-year life expectancy. So really, it was a question of figure something out myself or die. So that was the mother of all inventions, the necessity.

Saul Marquez:
That’s unbelievable. I mean, that is crazy. So you’re driving a Jeep and there’s this truck just heading straight at you and you’re like explosive death or fall off this bridge. And you just made the choice. I mean, like when that happened, Richard, to when you actually remember, like, what point did you actually start remembering what happened and gain consciousness and how did they find you?

Richard Hanbury:
So it was so my passenger broke a lot more brains than me, but was in good enough shape to, first of all, shout in Arabic. So the people watching the road to danger, your petrol, cigarettes, because they were running to help us with lit cigarettes. Everything was taken into custody for our own time. But yeah. And then he managed to get them to throw away the cigarettes from the sites and transported us to what they were very loosely called the hospital. And that’s from my friend got the insurance companies to send a medevac plane to pick me up.

Saul Marquez:
Unbelievable. I mean, that is just unbelievable. You’re a miracle to be here still, and I’m sure that the road to recovery was not easy for you and, you know, lots of pain. You said I had to do something about this, and that was the beginning of Sana. And so you made leaps and bounds since the beginning. You recovered. Very happy for you, Richard, and as I’m sure your family is, too. So now you have this device and this company. Why don’t you tell us a little bit more about what it is, how it works, and that way the listeners could get educated on including myself?

Richard Hanbury:
Certainly. So basically, all pain is some combination of central mediation, which is how the brain processes pain and peripheral pain, which is the signal coming into the brain. Now, with my kind of pain, I have a spinal cord injury and TBI and I was on the very extreme end of the spectrum where it was all about how the brain was processing the pain signal, but it wasn’t really actually pains that were coming up from my spine. It was essentially corrupted data stream. It’s very similar to what you get with a phantom limb. You’re actually being told you’re pain is being told your business with signal that doesn’t quite make sense. So with me, I was really, really lucky that the original device was able to wipe out all of my nerve damage pain. The other end of the spectrum of people, like people who have things like chronic regional pain syndrome, where anecdotally we seem to be helping 10 to 20, sometimes 30 percent to reduce pain. But if they stop using a device, the pain comes back. And those are the two extremes. And fibromyalgia, which is currently our focus, is right in the middle of those two. So you have the brain amplifying pain and you have an actual pain signal coming up from the body. So, yeah, we play all in the central mediation how to help your brain basically not amplify the pain that is coming in from the body if that makes sense.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, it does. It does. Wow, that’s fascinating. You know, pain is a very, very complex thing. And there’s a lot of different ways to tackle it. In the pre COVID stage, there was a big focus. And I think it’s still important for us to realize that even with COVID, the problem of the opioid epidemic is still lingering. In fact, probably getting worse. The importance of technologies like this for pain management is there just front and center. And so as we think through how this thing provides relief, tell us a little bit more about maybe some ways that it does it differently than other devices out there. And what specifically you would call the differentiator for this?

Richard Hanbury:
Certainly. To your earlier point, about covid, when covid here, we were already in clinical trials for neuropathic pain with Mount Sinai and we were planning the larger clinical study at Duke on fibromyalgia. But we thought, OK, well, everyone in the area, COVID is suffering from sleep issues, stress issues. And so we did a very, very shortened timetable to launch as a wellness device. And so getting approval from the FDA. So we are on market for that. So we have to be really careful about explaining to people that we are on label for wellness and improving sleep and helping people with mental clarity. And in the meantime, also going through clinical studies to then end up with the FDA indications for the other pain areas. And really sort of to your question around what makes us different. What I discovered when I was in hospital was, I went through the standard of care. Basically, that standard of care hasn’t really changed in 28 years. There have been some technological improvements on the implantable stimulators, but only in simulations of dealing with peripheral pain. They’re not dealing with how your brain processes pain. That’s a toolbox missing in the toolkit if you have extreme peripheral pain.

Richard Hanbury:
And what I realized was meditation, learning to meditate when you’re already in a lot of pain is not a particularly easy thing to do. And when you do become more aware, if you are actually already in a lot of pain, you just become more aware of how much pain you’re in, which is what happened to me. So I then watch the movie, which I watched while I was in the hospital, put me in and out of what we would now call a flow state. And at the end of the movie, I thought, holy crap, that changed my pain. That was more than morphine. And I thought, OK, well, the bits, the film that made me feel less pain made me feel like I used to when I was skiing, because everyone has experiences of the normal life. Like if it’s if you have a favorite, favorite football team or other sports team that you’re watching and you get into what we colloquially call a flow state or if you’re spending time with your kids. Anything that that stops your brain from thinking about analyzing the situation around you and just enjoying the present moment? That’s what a flow state is.

Richard Hanbury:
So I thought, OK, well, I’ll find a way. Yeah, that everyone does. I mean, they are the most addictive things. This is why people like watching sport. This is why people like watching good movies. If only we could always or movies were equally generating close states for everyone. Everyone has their own favorite movies. Family time, big time with friends where you’re really enjoying yourself. These are all first days and meditation is a place to. And so I thought, OK, I need to go to generate this at will, whatever I want to. So my thinking was, OK, well, if I meditated all my life then I could do that at will. So what’s different about a long-time meditator’s brain? And luckily I was able to stand on the shoulders of some brilliant neuroscientists in the 70s and 80s who did a whole bunch of work, specifically Maxwell Cade. He did work showing the differences between the brains of people who didn’t meditate and those who meditated a bit and the long term serious meditators. And by looking at his research and then looking at my brain in comparison, gave me the roadmap. And one of the key things that is different is that they have a balance of activity in their brain between the left and right sides of their brain. They have was what was termed hemispherical balance because it cost an average of all the normal different cognitive functions you do like thinking, memorizing, reading, paying attention, and listening to someone talking. So, yes. So this balance, isn’t there typically people with long term pain or long term anxiety or even in the short term? So that gave me my roadmap of I need to fix where my brain is, which is very heavily skewed to one side to what the long-term meditators’ brains look like. And you can’t do that with any other modality than audiovisual stimulation. So that’s where I ended up. And once I had that problem solved, it wiped out all of my nerve damage, pain over a three month period and never came back. So I am a very extreme example. And you have to be careful because a lot of people hear my story and they’re expecting the same results. We rarely, very rarely have people we can’t help at all. And the question is, you know, to the degree to which pain your pain is made worse by stress, that’s the degree to which we can help. So, yeah, and a lot of cases where a tool in the toolkit and just in rare cases like mine, and hopefully we’ll find more that we can be the effects man.

Saul Marquez:
That is interesting. Thank you for sharing that. And folks, if you go to Sana.io, it is a pair of, it’s a headset and it comes with headphones. And those headphones, not headphones, what do you call these?

Richard Hanbury:
It’s a — device that delivers the light stimulation and then headphones that deliver the sound. And basically, we supply headphones in case people haven’t got their own that they really like. So some people have Bluetooth headphones, some people just have headphones that are really not good enough. So most people end up plugging in their own headphones, picking on. And the experience is basically you sit in a reclining position or lying down. You put on your headphones and the device itself, you press play and through closed eyes you’re seeing a gentle pulse of light and hearing posted to the site. And if you think of your eyes, as four eyes, as to a person is to impulse with cycling between those with different algorithmic patterns, then gets the brain into a very deep relaxation stage. And that relaxed state is what accelerates neuroplasticity.

Saul Marquez:
And you guys recommend doing this once a day for 16 minutes,

Richard Hanbury:
Typically. So when we started our fibromyalgia study, we told people to use it twice a day. And then whenever they whenever any of their symptoms were too much for them to enjoy what they were doing, we had people using up to five times a day at the start. And then when they were out of their acute phase and they were in sort of stable viewpoint once a day looks like it’s enough to keep someone in that managed pain state.

Saul Marquez:
Interesting. Thank you for that, Richard. So I’m curious about how it’s improving outcomes. Do you have any stories around? I know it’s the wellness stage right now and you’ve shared your story, but do you have anything else you want to share there around outcomes, improvement, or wellness, the wellness portion of it?

Richard Hanbury:
Yes, certainly so. I mean, on the wellness side, almost everybody gets a relaxation of facts, improvements in sleep and general well-being. And that hopefully will always be the case. On the clinical side, early clinical pilot results for fibromyalgia, which is now the subject of a larger study. And we’re hoping to submit to the FDA for approval in February next year. But the early results so far have shown that we are approximately five times better than Lyrica, which is the best-selling drug for fibromyalgia, and we’re five times better improving the overall quality of life. And obviously, we don’t have any side effects, any negative side effects at all, have a whole bunch of positive side effects, but nothing negative at all, which stands us in very high contrast to all of the drugs. So your average fibromyalgia patient is typically taking a cocktail of five to eight drugs because the neuropsychiatric farmer approach is to take a drug for each individual compounding capability. So, for example, Xanax for anxiety, Cymbalta for depression, Lyrica for nerve pain, Tramadol, Ambien. These are just some of the typical drugs that are taken. And it’s worth noting that none of those drugs have ever been tested for safety or efficacy when in combination with any of the others, let alone the typical cocktails that people take. And they’re not really solving a problem. Almost everyone is reducing symptoms.

Richard Hanbury:
And that is kind of the state of play within fibromyalgia. So the average person who has fibromyalgia, 85 percent women, 15 percent men, the average person goes to five different physicians before they get a diagnosis. And typically that’s a process of about five years on average. So really hard to diagnose, really hard to get taken seriously, really hard to figure out what it is. And then when you do not great solutions, hopefully until us and with a bit of luck, we will have those results in January next year.

Saul Marquez:
Well, that’s amazing. Thank you for sharing that. And you’d think about the downstream impacts and improvements of obviously up front, front and center relief for the individual, taking it, using it, and then the downstream impact of all the money you could save from your personal pocketbook, but also as an employer or an insurer, Right., you’re going to be saving money if you have the opportunity to use something like this when it becomes available later next year or whenever it gets approved. Just fascinating. Certainly, something to consider in the wellness day to start exploring and seeing where it goes from here, whether it be for your personal use or the application for population, you’re in charge of certainly something to think about. Richard, you’re obviously you know, you walk the walk, talk the talk. You use this because you need it. You know, developing a device is not easy. Talk to us about one of the biggest setbacks you’ve experienced and key learning that that’s come out of that.

Richard Hanbury:
I would definitely say that the most important lesson I learned was a concept that I try and explain by calling it minimum viable data. coming as I did from the non-academic side. I had this belief that data is and credibility is a bar that you have to get over. And therefore, I spent a lot of time and effort trying to raise money to do larger clinical studies when I didn’t have enough early data to get the right people interested and to get the right voices to give me the money to do it. And what I learned was is absolutely not true, that credibility is about credibility as a ladder. And the smaller, simpler steps that you do, you try and take, the faster that you can take them and the quicker you can gain support around you. Because the question you really need to ask is what’s the cheapest, simplest, quickest way The data that just gives me that little bit extra proof that I’m on the right track because then you start getting help from everyone. The universe starts to support you. So that was really that was definitely the biggest learning overall.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, that’s interesting. And rather than say, all right, there’s this big thing I got to do. You’re looking at it as a ladder now and taking it one step at a time.

Richard Hanbury:
That’s right. That’s right. If someone had told me that as a medical device entrepreneur in my early years, it would have saved me probably four years of time, three years of time at least.

Saul Marquez:
So if you are developing a medical device, you should hit rewind.

Richard Hanbury:
Yeah, exactly. I mean, specifically, you’ve got two different sources. So there are lots of things that come out of academia. And there you have people who can stay in their day jobs, spend lots of time applying for grants, and not care. But those grants take them a long time to get a long time to process because they have day jobs. And that’s a good source of funding. And they get data before you have to go and get money from VCs. If you are coming from the patient side as I did, you have to go get data that will persuade investors to give you money because you don’t have time to apply for grants and grants. Take too long. If you’re on a burn rate, are in salary. So it’s really a question of don’t try and shoot for the moon. Aim for the moon is the endpoint of where you stick your ladder, but look for what’s the quickest, shortest first rung of that ladder to go up and then the next one. The next one.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, I love it. Yeah. Great distinction. Great distinction for sure. And so love that you guys have made the progress that you have and you’re going to submit for FDA approval early next year. What are you most excited about today, Richard?

Richard Hanbury:
I’m really excited about a thousand-person one study that we are going to start early next year before we get FDA approval in parallel with the Duke study on fibromyalgia. It will be a one thousand person study that will go out in concert with the mighty. The might.com is a patient advocacy self-help support group, which I think now is in excess of three million people who’ve signed up for various disease groups to get more information and help each other out ways to improve it. And they happen to have a two hundred eighty-nine thousand people strong fibromyalgia following. So they’re helping us launch this first thousand-person test. The purpose of that is to back up the data from the Duke study, help us do more to segment and wherein fibromyalgia we’re having the biggest impact and who we can help quickest. And really, that’s why I’m really excited about it because it was Thanksgiving last year. This lady rang me up and said I had to ring it because it was Thanksgiving because you saved my life. And I was feeling pretty sorry myself before she said that. And I was like, OK, who are you and what happened? And she had a headache, pain from a traumatic brain injury. And she happened to use the device because a friend lent it to her and it stops her pain, which was making her feel suicidal. And in the future, TBI will be one of the things that we do a study on. We’ve got grant applications at the moment, so we’re not on the label for it yet, but we’re going down that road.

Richard Hanbury:
But what it really showed me was if we once we’ve got a thousand devices out in the real world helping people, it’s only that a matter of time before we get up to the millions of devices helping millions of people. And really, I’ve had twenty-eight years of doing this now and I had six years of proving out and anecdotal small tests that it works in all these different areas. But it didn’t have the technology. The technology just wasn’t there to build the standalone device that we now have. And really I had to wait until the wearable technology caught up with where I wanted it to be, to then relaunch the company, build the awesome team I have around me now to get inside to market. Now we’re going through the steps necessary with the FDA to prove we’ve already proven to the satisfaction of our own safety. And then the next hurdle is proving the efficacy. So really, after a 20-year journey, we’re right on the cusp of being able to help all the people that irritated the hell out of me over the twenty-eight years previously to not be able to help them because I couldn’t figure out how to make a device that anybody could use without me being there. So it’s the next stage in a very long journey. And it’s really exciting to now be just at that point where we’re just at the point of being able to help people out in the real world.

Saul Marquez:
That’s exciting, Richard, for sure. And big kudos to you. And, you know, we do get a good amount of voices listening in, checking out what’s out there, what’s new, what’s interesting. So if you’re listening to this interview, certainly one to consider Richard and his company, Saana, that in the show notes you go to Outcomes Rocket, that health type and Insana Santé or go to Azana Dot Io, you’ll find more info on Richard. And if you’re on the patient front or just wanting to help somebody, certainly a promising technology here to help with chronic pain. Richard, can’t thank you enough for spending time with us. I love if you could just leave us with a closing thought and the best place for the listeners could reach out to you if they’re interested in collaborating.

Richard Hanbury:
Certainly. My email is Richard@Sana.io. Yes. And in addition to the to VC’s and and family offices, we would very much like to hear from any other payers and providers. We’re building up physician networks with pain clinics. So anybody on the side that wants to reduce their cost side as well through to physicians who want to help build up the network, please do feel free to get in touch with me.

Richard Hanbury:
I mean, I guess my parting thought is COVID is teaching us all that there are a lot greater possibilities with digital health and telemedicine doing things the difference distance and those that awareness that we can do things not necessarily with drugs, but with devices as well at a distance that’s coming at a time when it’s needed more than ever. And it’s very exciting for the whole digital health space because it essentially opens up access to pain and mental health. Help for people who it just would have been too expensive for before, so I covered is obviously a lot of damage to a lot of people. And at the same time, it has opened up opportunities that hopefully in the long run will overall dramatically reduce the amount of pain and suffering that people have to go through. And we’re excited to be a part of it. Anybody who would like to join us in our journey or who thinks we might be able to help them in this, please do get in touch. Thank you very much.

Saul Marquez:
Awesome, Richard. Hey, really appreciate it. And definitely a true pleasure to have you on.

Richard Hanbury:
Well, I appreciate it. Thank you very much indeed.

Saul Marquez:
Hey, Outcomes Rocket listeners, Saul Marquez here, I get what a phenomenal asset a podcast could be for your business and also how frustrating it is to navigate editing and production, monetization, and achieving the ROIC you’re looking for. Technical busywork shouldn’t stop you from getting your genius into the world, though. You should be able to build your brand easily with the professional podcast that gets attention, a patched-up podcast could ruin your business. Let us do the technical busy work behind the scenes while you share your genius on the mic and take the industry stage. Visit smooth podcasting.com to learn more. That’s smoothpodcasting.com to learn more.

Automatically convert your audio files to text with Sonix. Sonix is the best online, automated transcription service.

Sonix uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence to convert your mp3 files to text.

Better organize your audio files with Sonix; it’s really easy. Sonix’s automated transcription is fast, easy, and accurate. Automated algorithms have improved a lot over the past decade. Automated transcription is much more accurate if you upload high quality audio. Here’s how to capture high quality audio. Transcribing by hand is no longer necessary; put away those headphones. Automated transcription with the best customer support team to help you at every step of the way.

Save time and money with automated transcription. Are you a radio station? Better transcribe your radio shows with Sonix. Sonix has the world’s best audio transcription platform with features focused on collaboration. Automated transcription is better when you can easily collaborate and share the transcripts; our powerful permissioning system makes collaboration a breeze.

Sonix uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence to convert your mp3 files to text.

Sonix is the best online audio transcription software in 2021—it’s fast, easy, and affordable.

If you are looking for a great way to convert your audio to text, try Sonix today.

 

Things You’ll Learn

  • Credibility is a ladder and the smaller, simpler steps that you do and take, the faster that you can take them, and the quicker you can gain support around you.
  • Aim for the moon is the endpoint of where you stick your ladder, but look for what’s the quickest, shortest first rung of that ladder to go up and then the next one and then the next one. 
  • COVID is teaching us all that there are a lot greater possibilities with digital health and telemedicine doing things.

 

Resources

https://www.sana.io/

Richard@Sana.io