The Galway medtech startup FeelTect has been awarded €50,000 to help develop their wearable device for treating venous leg ulcers.
The Tight Alright device is a wireless, pressure sensing device worn on the leg, which continuously monitors sub-bandage pressure during compression therapy, aimed at helping the millions of people worldwide with venous leg ulcers.
Venous leg ulcers are chronic wounds that stem from venous insufficiency, a medical condition affecting the circulation of blood to the lower limbs.
The tiny valves that normally force blood back up towards the heart no longer function, causing blood to pool up in the legs, and the veins of the legs become distended, making fluid build up in the lower limbs.
FeelTecht has been presented with an EIT Health Headstart award worth €50,000 to advance the development of a new treatment device for this.
FeelTect founder and CEO, Dr Andrew Cameron said this award will have a huge impact on their ability to bring Tight Alright to the market.
“The funding provided by EIT Health will allow us to progress the miniaturisation of Tight Alright to a truly wearable product,” the first outside of a clinical setting he added.
The money will also be used to further their clinical validation of the device, initial results of which were supported by Health Innovation Hub Ireland.
“We have planned our first clinical study involving VLU patients with our clinical collaborator, Professor Mary-Paula Colgan in St James’s Hospital,” Dr Cameron said.
He added that after having the prototype validated by the wound care team at Galway University Hospitals, they are ready to take the next step in using it to benefit patients.
FeelTect came from the BioInnovate programme at NUIG, where Dr Cameron saw an unmet clinical need in the treatment of leg ulcers together with co-founder and CÚRAM investigator, Dr Georgina Gethin.
It began as an Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund project within the Duffy Lab in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, where the proof-of-concept research and development was conducted.
The team is currently in discussions with potential partners and has launched a seed round for fundraising to support the progression of Tight Alright into clinical practice.
“It’s very exciting to see the first commercial product from our labs at NUI Galway move closer to the clinic,” Dr Georgina Gethin.
“Through Enterprise Ireland’s initial support and now with EIT Health Headstart funding we plan to continue the clinical validation of the Tight Alright technology and move it close to positive outcomes for patients with venous leg ulcers.”
Compression therapy is the gold-standard treatment for venous leg ulcers to help overcome the venous insufficiency and restore blood flow.
However it is ineffective if applied too loosely, and dangerous if applied too tightly. Yet studies have shown that even experienced wound care clinicians can find it difficult to get the right level of pressure.
Despite major advances in certain wound care areas, such as regenerative medicine, moisture balance, infection management, and tissue oxygenation, the basic tools for compression therapy have been largely untouched by disruptive innovation in recent decades.
FeelTect aims to change this through the digital capabilities of modern medical devices such as those developed at the CÚRAM Centre.
The EIT Health Headstart competition finals saw 22 finalist teams of medtech start-ups from across the UK and Ireland pitching their technologies to a panel of investors, healthcare professionals, and medtech experts.