Sri Lankan company MAS Recognised for FemTech Innovations

Sri Lanka’s MAS group said it had been recognized for advancements in female-centric technology (FemTech) that improved women’s health and well-being, in a global innovation award given by Clarivate, a firm that tracks scientific advances and patents around the world.

Twinery, (the research and development arm of MAS) has been working hard since 2014 to help women manage and support physical changes and health concerns through our FemTech pillar,” Ranil Vitarana, Chief Innovation Officer, MAS Holdings said.

The awards are given by Clarivate, a former intellectual property and science division of Thomson Reuters, a media and data group.

Clarivate had identified MAS after tracking patents filed by thousands of firms and peer reviewed papers in scientific journals spanning several years. Firms cannot apply to get an award.

“Recognizing us at an international level gives us a lot of confidence in what we are doing,” Mahesh Amalean, Chairman, MAS Holdings.

“That is helpful to give us the energy and enthusiasm to continue to do the work we are doing.”

MAS has a portfolio of 64 patent families with 170 applications filed in the USA, UK, Europe, China, Japan and Australia.

Vitarana says 11 per cent of MAS products are new innovations but is planning to expand it to 20 per cent by 5-years.

MAS Holdings says it is apparel manufacturer to win the Clarivate award in addition to being the first Sri Lankan company to be included.

Among the top 28 who received the award this year were the National University of Singapore, The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India; Petronas, Malaysia; Siam Cement Group, Thailand; Indian Oil Corporation; Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited and the Welspun Group, India.

Industrial groups like India’s TATA, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd have also won in the past.

For this year’s award 235 organizations were tracked from 2014 to 2018 and it was narrowed down to 28 including MAS.

It gets data from Derwent World Patents Index (DWPI) and Derwent Patent Citations Index (DPCI), a patent database to find innovators from academic institutions, government research organizations, corporations and emerging corporations.

Clarivate said it measured four key metrics using the data: Number of unique inventions, patent success, influence of the innovation and the globalization.

Femtech Start-UP

MAS technology was used by ‘Become’, a female-led Startup focused on helping women control their menopause symptoms.

The fabric is made from a lightweight yarn that has a smooth fabric without joins and is able to release and absorbs heat or moisture.

‘Become’ uses a silky fabric made from a mixture of complex yarns to create lightweight material that is seamless, breathable, and cool against the skin..” explains Vitarana

The firm uses a patented ‘Anti-Flush Technology’ of MAS which absorbs heat from the surface of the skin and then releases warmth back onto the body during the chill that follows, he said.

He said FEMTECH is a 5 billion dollar market at the moment and is slated to grow to 18 billion by 2025.

MAS has also patented a next-to-skin illumination technology called ‘FIREFLY’.

Another new development backed by Twinnery is SPRYNG, a compression device that can get almost 90 per cent of the blood from the lower extremities (from hip to toes) returning to the heart, Vitarana says.

“Within 15 minutes of use, calf muscles that have been weakened due to long bouts of sitting, standing or exercise are refreshed,” Vitarana said.

In 2019, MAS has raised one million US dollars showcasing this device on KickStarter and IndieGOGO crowdfunding platforms.

“In 2019, we raised one million on KickStarter and IndieGoGo before the product was even officially launched in to the market. This product is making recovery and rejuvenation accessible to a larger audience,” Vitarana said.

Amalean says that their focus is to make at least 20 per cent of new businesses it gets to be from their new innovative products.

While MAS wants its clients to come to them to manufacture any innovative products they sell.

“Our ambition is to make our customers at least manufacture 50 per cent of their innovative products from us,” Vitarana said.

MAS also follows lean manufacturing principles.

“…We started as manufacturers of apparel and slowly as demand came through from our customers and they saw us maturing, they kept throwing challenges at us in terms of coming up with some new innovations,” Amalean said.

“Initially it was in respect to design and product innovation subsequently looking in to new materials and innovations in terms of technology so we had no choice.

“To be a relevant vendor-partner to our customers we had to invest in research and innovations, and on the other side invest in lean manufacturing.

“So on the one side looking at bringing in new products and on the other side making sure we are innovating and that we use manufacturing excellence to execute and deliver on our commitments to our customers.”

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