Jason Kang — CEO and Co-Founder, Katherine Jin — Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, and Kevin Tyan — Senior Advisor and Co-Founder, founded Kinnos based on the need to make a difference during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Their flagship product Highlight® was created to address the urgency of improving disinfection applications for both epidemic response and everyday use.
Their mission to empower people to disinfect surfaces confidently and provide society with peace of mind through visible disinfection has led to Highlight® becoming an award-winning, patented colour additive platform that helps with disinfection and compliance. Independent studies and whitepapers have shown that its real-time colour visualisation consistently increases cleaning thoroughness. Highlight® is now used internationally by hospitals, first responders and transit agencies, and has been recognised by Harvard Innovations Lab, Forbes, Newsweek, USAID, the USPTO Humanity Award, and others.
“We wanted to develop a simple, effective solution that would make it easy to confirm that surfaces have been disinfected correctly; this is how our Highlight® technology was born. For the first founding years, we focused on global health and worked with NGOs in countries like Liberia, Guinea, Uganda, Haiti, DR Congo, and others.
Over time we realised our technology also had applications in hospitals, where patients suffer from healthcare-associated infections or infections they get from the hospital itself. Over the last couple of years, we have been making a concerted effort to expand our technology platform into hospitals,” says Kang.
Triumphing at Innov8
Since then, Kinnos has been named as one of the top 100 healthcare technology companies of 2021 by The Healthcare Technology Report and recognised by the World Health Organisation as Innovative Health Technology. It also won this years’ Arab Health Innov8 competition, following an intensive week-long judging process that saw a total of 24 different companies pitch over the opening three days of Arab Health.
“Participating in Innov8 was a great experience and winning has helped us explore opportunities in the MENA region for the first time. The announcement of our win has encouraged the local healthcare community and its ambassadors to connect with us. We are looking forward to exploring how Kinnos can partner with both local healthcare systems and government authorities to implement our technology in the UAE. Unfortunately, a high infection rate still exists with roughly 28 per cent of MENA patients interacting with variations of communicable infection. As hospitals in the MENA region are rapidly advancing, we can become a key part of their journey towards progressively innovating.”
Highlight® works by colouring the liquid bleach and disinfecting wipes used in hospitals to clean surfaces, allowing users to instantly see disinfection coverage. The colour improves visibility, fades in colour automatically to train on disinfectant contact times and provides peace of mind to the public through visible disinfection. It has prevented the use of incorrectly mixed or expired bleach products in various critical healthcare situations because its colour fades only when healthcare-strength bleach is used. It is the only product on the market designed to provide real-time visual feedback during manual disinfection so that quality is maintained every single time a disinfectant is used.
“Today our technology is primarily compatible with bleach-based disinfectants, and the reason we started with bleach is that there is a need to be able to fully cover surfaces and target hard-to-kill pathogens. The use of Highlight® has resulted in 30 to 70 per cent improvements in disinfection scores, which according to studies have shown a strong correlation to reductions in infections. We have not only supported improvements in disinfection techniques, but hospitals have relayed that Highlight® has been instrumental in training new staff and existing staff. We have also spent extensive time working collaboratively with top hospital partners in the US to quantify improvements in disinfection quality as a result of using Highlight®.
Jason Kang (centre), Katherine Jin (right), and Kevin Tyan (left)
“Presently, there are labour shortages due to COVID. Therefore, the ability to have built-in visual training is a big value-add and saves hospitals time. We are also aware that patients throughout the pandemic want to see enhanced cleaning in facilities. Highlight® is a very tangible, visible way for businesses and for hospitals to demonstrate that commitment to patient safety and delivering a better patient experience,” he explains.
Future of Kinnos
A part of the winning prize of Innov8 includes participation as an exhibitor in the next edition of Arab Health. “We went up against some tough competitors and I was blown away by some of the other solutions. It feels like we are starting to enter the future of tech and the future of healthcare. We are honoured to be selected as an overall winner, and as far as Arab Health goes, I was very impressed with the quality of professionals and the quality of companies. Exhibiting next year at Arab Health is going to be a great opportunity for us to continue to showcase our existing product line and what we have in store.
“Many hospitals tend to use alcohol- quaternary ammonium or hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectants, and by the end of 2022, we plan to have full product compatibility with all commonly used disinfectants. Having that full suite will be a very powerful tool for any hospital’s arsenal. We are hoping to showcase this at Arab Health 2023 as well,” he concludes.