Cyber Talk Radio: Smart Pill Bottle Technology Founded by Trinity University Students

Bret Piatt, CTR Host, and Gavin Buchanan and Andrew Aertker, co-founders of PATCH Technologies - Episode 127 of Cyber Talk Radio

This past Saturday, March 2, episode 127 of Cyber Talk Radio hit the air on 1200 WOAI and iHeartRadio streaming. I was joined by Gavin Buchanan and Andrew Aertker, co-founders of PATCH Technologies, to discuss how they’ve created a smart pill bottle cap that helps doctors make sure that patients are taking their prescribed medication dosage.

To start us off, I had the co-founders describe the technology they’ve created — PATCH (Pill Administering Technology for Compliant Healthcare) Technologies, developed a smart pill bottle cap that connects via bluetooth to track when someone takes a pill. It can even alert users when it’s time to take a pill. Both co-founders are currently students at Trinity University here in San Antonio. I ask them how they handle to school full-time and also running a business? For them, time management is key. PATCH was involved in the school’s 2018 Stumberg Competition, where they became finalists. They also went to private investors with their idea and raised $100,000 to build a prototype, which they were able to do in around four months. They’re currently working on the second prototype. We talked about how problem solving skills are a key for starting a business and creating a new product or service. This summer, PATCH is participating in the Students + Startups program that helps match college students with summer internships in local San Antonio startups, which is important to encouraging local entrepreneurship. In terms of regulation and vetting, the FDA process had them spend plenty of 10-hour days to research and complete a 50-page pre-application. Before the break, I ask the co-founders about their biggest challenges in this process. They describe that finding market space for their product in the clinical trial space took lots of work after reaching many dead-ends.

After the break, Gavin and Andrew discuss how the idea of the pill bottle cap came about during the opioid crisis. It all started from a casual conversation Gavin had with his dad before he left home to go to Trinity, and it all came together when Gavin and Andrew met each other in the Entrepreneurship Hall on campus at Trinity University. As around 75 percent of patients aren’t taking opioids as they are prescribed to, so the PATCH founders saw the need for a fix to that type of drug abuse. In order to move from concept to a concrete product, they identified the value of having a mentor to have an external perspective to give advice and recommendations. Their mentor from UT Health System has been very beneficial to the team, especially since the healthcare industry and clinical trial field is a tight-knit group. They brought on a Trinity graduate to project manage between the two groups that they have partnered with to build out the actual device and the software behind the device. They are currently working on apps for both iOS and Android, with beta testing to begin soon. And they are just beginning! So far, half of this entire process has been spent solely on research around the device, its competitive market, the industry in general, etc. PATCH Technologies has so much further to grow in the medical tech market — and we can’t wait to watch it happen!

Listen to the full episode replay to learn more about the PATCH smart pill bottle cap.

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