Marc Koska OBE is the founder of the revolutionary, non-reusable syringe that is changing the world. Like all great entrepreneurs, Marc spent a few years travelling the world before reading an article in 1984 predicting the shocking and needless transmission of HIV through the re-use of needles. This problem fascinated him, and there the passion was born. Following a year of intense research, and determining that the syringe manufacture was to blame, he set about designing a non-reusable syringe. His understanding that education was key to the problem led to his founding of the The SafePoint Trust to educate children on the dangers of disease transmission.
“I saw an article in The Guardian predicting the transmission of HIV through the re-use of syringes. And I thought, that’s what I’ve been waiting for! Doctors were re-using syringes, and people were being infected with wholly preventable diseases by people in whom they had enormous faith. It was a nightmare situation.
“I’d never had a sense of purpose before. At 23, after drifting through school and various jobs, my sense of direction didn’t go far beyond crewing yachts around the Caribbean. My ignorance of healthcare systems and syringes was complete – and the only thing I’d ever manufactured was excuses. So I set about learning. I read everything I could on the transmission of viruses like HIV. I found out how UK drug addicts used syringes. I went to Geneva to learn about public health policy. An inexpensive, non-reusable syringe seemed to be the answer, so I mugged up on every relevant patent and syringe design. I went to see lots of syringe factories, and I studied plastic injection moulding technologies.
“The quest was to develop a syringe that could be made of the same materials on existing tooling and assembly equipment and used in exactly the same way as a conventional syringe – but with one minor, negligible cost modification that would make re-use impossible. The K1 and Star Syringe was the result. And today, 27 years later, literally millions are used every week.
“So far, so good, then. But safe syringes aren’t a solution to ignorance or indifference to unsafe practice. That takes education. Patients and healthcare professionals alike have to be made aware of the life-threatening consequences of reusing any instrument that comes into contact with blood.
“That’s precisely why I formed the SafePoint charity in 2006. Its purpose is to tell a whole generation of people about these dangers, especially in the developing world, where the problem is most acute. Informing them through co-operation with the mass media, NGOs, professional bodies, national, local and educational authorities, using films, lectures, leaflets, posters, TV and radio shows – anything, in fact, that gets the message across.”
Seventeen years after his seminal moment, Marc has sold over 700 million syringes - and counting. Reinfection by syringe is the ninth-biggest killer on earth and Marc’s invention is making a huge difference across the globe.
He has also built strong relationships with the manufacturers in the developing world, taking only a 5% royalty on each syringe sold. The other 95% remains in one of the eight developing countries in which Star Syringe manufacture their K1 and K3 syringes.
Every entrepreneur needs a palate of skills, but without passion for the subject, product or service, success may be more luck than judgement. Marc will speak at the Brighton Summit of his battle to develop the K1 auto-disabling needle, the decision by the Indian Government to make it mandatory throughout the country and his mission to add Africa to the list of continents recognising their benefit to public health. Marc will be one of an array of notable speakers at the Brighton Summit, organised by the Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce. Other headline speakers will include serial investor Luke Johnson, who, after amassing a £220 million fortune has gone on to purchase Brighton Pier, and Camilla Stephens and Mark Campbell, founders of the hugely successful Higgidy Pies.
The speakers will share their inspirational stories during a packed day of expert workshops, thought provoking panel discussions and a Desire Hour, where delegates will explore their dreams whilst doing something rather unusual. Whether your business goals are on this scale or with a smaller, regional focus, their infectious passion for the subject is what all the speakers will bring to the Summit.
The Brighton Summit is a unique event that should not be missed by anyone involved in business and will take place at the Clarendon Centre on Friday October 14th 2016.
Tickets are going fast, so go to www.brightonsummit.com to book for the Brighton Summit or call Brighton Chamber on 01273 719097 for further information. If you missed the Summit last year, watch the video at www.brightonsummit.com