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Soovu Labs, Inc.: Relieving Pain Through an Innovative Heat Delivery Approach

Allan Stephan | Co-founder and CEO | Soovu Labs
Allan Stephan | Co-founder and CEO | Soovu Labs

The old wives’ tale of taking out hot water bottles to reduce body pain has some truth in it. And science is taking it seriously. Heat provides comfort to the body, and can reduce pain at the receptor level with the right temperature and application. Soovu Labs, Inc. has used this mechanism at its core for the discovery of new drug-free pain relief treatments. While it’s difficult to use electric heating pads and hot tubs on the go and steady high temperatures can damage the skin, the company has solved these challenges with its Soovu™ Pain Relief System.

Soovu™ is a wearable pain relief device with patented HeatWave™ technology that pulses waves of heat at optimal temperatures to the area that hurts, for effective, targeted pain relief. This device delivers fast and effective relief, leaving users pain-free and comforted. Following are the key benefits that set the Soovu™ device apart from other heat-delivery mechanisms.

  • Relief starts in as little as five minutes.
  • Lasting relief up to 3.5 hours.
  • 61% pain reduction after eight weeks.
  • Wireless and can be used on-the-go.

In an interview with Insights Care, Allan Stephan, the CEO and Co-founder, talks in-depth about the company’s innovation in treating pain drug-free.

Kindly brief us about the company and its inception story.

Soovu Labs is transforming the treatment of pain by providing safe, effective alternatives to pills and invasive procedures. The company was founded by two board-certified pain specialists who grew increasingly frustrated watching many patients’ lives compromised by opioid dependence and other patients demoralized after numerous procedures failed to meaningfully reduce their pain. After securing funding from the National Institutes of Health, they teamed up with Allan Stephan, a seasoned engineer and product design executive, to develop the Soovu™ wearable thermal neuromodulation system for pain relief.

Please tell us about yourself and your professional journey so far.

I work on solving complex problems and have a special appreciation for the different skills and effort required to unlock puzzles. An engineer by degree, I founded my first company, Stratos, a multi-discipline product development firm, in 1987. Stratos’ clientele included venture capital back companies and major organizations like Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Google, Amazon, Boston Scientific, Medtronic, and Abbott.

I incubated several emerging companies in wearable computing, medical devices, and life sciences within Stratos. VoxWare acquired Inroad (wearable computer) in 2000. Sony acquired Micronics (microfluidic diagnostics) in 2010. Millipore acquired Amnis (imaging flow cytometry) in 2010. Roche acquired Stratos Genomics (DNA sequencing) in 2020.

In 2016, I stepped down from Stratos to lead my remaining incubation to address the world’s pain epidemic, Soovu Labs.

What are the core values of the company? How are you driving the company to achieve its mission and vision statement?

Soovu Labs’ objective is to help everyone be the best they can be. I surround myself with incredible people, clear their paths, and let them roll out solutions.

Could you please list the key products and offerings of the company? Also, please put light on any service that is the company’s USP.

Soovu Labs’ flagship product is the Soovu™ Pain Relief System, an FDA-registered class II medical device for the temporary relief of chronic and musculoskeletal pain and menstrual discomfort. Soovu is available without prescription and is currently marketed as a drug-free workforce pain management solution. Unlike typical pain relief solutions, Soovu delivers relief within 5 minutes of the first heat therapy, is drug-free, and can be used discreetly and safely at work, home, rest or play. Quick and efficient pain relief can improve mobility, mood, sleep, and productivity as well as reduce the need for pain medication and pain therapies.

In your opinion, what are the current challenges in the pain management industry? How are you infusing your leadership skills and expertise over the years to create a flourishing industry with opportunities and growth?

The greatest challenge of pain is treating it without creating even more dangerous outcomes. Whether from addiction to opioids or death from heart attacks, strokes, and organ injury from NSAIDs, treating pain is a risk. My career has been looking at problems from non-traditional angles to see what others missed. We are advancing knowledge beyond existing therapies by looking at pain’s pivotal role in the immune system. We see variations of our work in pain management rolling out for years to come.

What are the latest technological advancements adopted by your company to deliver the best pain management services in the industry? How is it impacting the demographic concerned?

The Soovu™ Pain Relief System targets the TRPV1 receptor, which was the focus of Nobel Prize-winning research in 2021 on temperature and pressure-sensitive receptors. Soovu’s patented HeatWave™ thermal neuromodulation technology desensitizes the TRPV1 receptor to block the pain response for several hours. Soovu delivers relief within minutes, on par or faster than most medications, and does so without the risk of severe side effects. Its portable form factor and ability to use on the go make Soovu an ideal drug-free pain relief solution for individuals who need relief as they carry on with their lives.

As an experienced leader, what advice would you like to give to aspiring entrepreneurs and enthusiasts who wish to venture into the competitive industry that you are serving?

If you aren’t a natural salesperson, get yourself an equal partner because success is creating something people are willing to buy, and it takes longer than you’ll imagine.

What are the future goals of the company? How does it envision scaling up its operations and reach in 2023 and beyond?

Establishing Soovu as the safest and most enjoyable method of pain reduction will always be our goal. This year, we are kicking off pilot trials with major corporations to address the enormous negative impact employees in pain have on an organization’s profitability while demonstrating Soovu’s positive impact on employees’ lives. Soovu will eventually address clinical pain applications and consumer solutions in years to come.

Give us a few testimonials from your clients or customers, and awards or recognition that accurately highlight your company’s position in the market.

“Soovu helps me get back to active life”

“The first time I used my Soovu I had muscle spasms in my back, typically I need a chiropractor or massage therapy to work those out, but when I put Soovu on it helped calm the muscles down. My Soovu has become a very useful tool for when I overdo it one way or another to help me get back to active life.”

– Erik L, Soovu User

Entrepreneur, suffers from arthritis, avid athlete.

“I bring Soovu with me and use it at work”

“Soovu helps me pinpoint the area that is hurting. For me, it’s instant satisfaction. I like that I can stick it on wherever I want and go on with my day, so I am not stuck on the couch. I bring the kit with me and use it at work. I let some of my co-workers borrow my pods and they swear by it, my wife loves it, it’s a great product.”

– Scott S, Soovu User

Building Engineer, suffers from chronic back pain from injury.

“For me, relief was pretty much immediate and long lasting”

“I recently had a baby and I’ve had a lot of lower back pain since then. Since I’ve been breastfeeding, I try to minimize medications for pain and just take an occasional Tylenol, so to have Soovu as an adjunct therapy for pain has been incredibly helpful. I’ve used heat in the past to help with pain, but Soovu is different. You can feel the heat right away, in a very targeted place where you feel pain. Relief was pretty much immediate for me and long-lasting.”

– Sheena H, Soovu User

Anesthesiologist/Pain Physician, suffers from back pain.

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