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Metyos builds biowearable to monitor chronic kidney disease | TechCrunch

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Alexandre Boulanger is best known for building self-balancing exoskeletons at Wandercraft. For his next turn, the Based in Paris The robotics entrepreneur is working on a much lighter type of wearable device: a patch worn on the arm to monitor chronic kidney disease (CKD). The medical technology startup — Metyos – of which Boulanger is CEO, is a joint effort: co-founded with CTO Olga Chashchina, who holds a PhD in biomedical engineering where she gained particular expertise in biosensors, essential to what the two men are cooking up here .

In recent years, there has been an explosion of interest in biowearables, driven by developments such as the commercialization of continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) for diabetes management. At the same time, rising healthcare costs have increased pressure on services to find smarter ways to tackle costly problems like chronic disease management, without compromising the quality of care. service. Biowearables offer a potential avenue to help solve this cycle for a range of chronic health conditions.

Metyos’ goal is to create real-time (semi-invasive) sensing technology similar to that already established for diabetes management, so that it can also detect chemical changes in fluids just under the skin, but which focuses on monitoring related biomarkers. to chronic kidney disease. It wants its biowearables to be prescribed by doctors as part of a remote treatment management program for patients – suggesting the approach could help doctors spot warning signs linked to kidney disease remotely . failure and hyperkalemia.

For patients, the goal is to enable them to become a more active participant in their own care – providing recommendations (such as diet) and a better understanding of CKD through the app. The startup therefore adopts a two-sided approach that aims to bring data-driven insights to doctors and patients. Which seems smart and necessary: ​​If mobile technology has done anything, it has given consumers the expectation of having access to information and being kept informed.

The startup says its biowear will monitor ions and minerals that can build up in the bloodstream when kidney function is affected, by sending data to an app on the user’s smartphone, via Bluetooth. From there, the technology will be designed to relay user data to Metyos’ secure server in the cloud, where healthcare professionals monitoring the patient’s condition will be able to access it and track disease progression remotely.

The team began work on Metyos in 2021, with the help of “a little love money” and a public grant, as Boulanger tells it. So far, they have built a prototype of the biowearable and conducted bench tests.

They have just closed a pre-seed funding round of €2.3 million (~$2.5 million) to fund the next stage of development which will involve conducting clinical trials to further evaluate and refine the technology. The main investors of the round are Cenitz, Bpifrance and KIMA Ventures.

As a medtech startup, Boulanger confirms that Metyos will not commercialize its technology without regulatory approval – which it is aiming for, he says, by the end of 2025. In terms of target markets, the team is focused on Europe (in particular its original market, France). and the United States. In general, the focus is on markets where remote patient monitoring reimbursements exist and/or are being developed, according to Boulanger.

How did the serial entrepreneur get the idea to create this startup? “I had gained a lot of weight, so I became interested in nutritional tracking and, by extension, biochemical tracking,” he told TechCrunch.

At the same time co-founder of Boulanger, Chashchina, suffered from a chronic health problem. So when the two men met, their interests aligned on the idea of ​​building a biowearable. “She must do a lot of blood tests and I wanted a tool to help him in the daily management of his illness,” he notes. “So we started with the user/patient perspective on biowearables and partnered early with physicians to refine clinical needs.

The startup’s objective is to develop a portable detection device capable of improving health outcomes for patients with CKD and financial outcomes for the healthcare system by enabling remote biological monitoring of patients with this chronic disease.

Metyos cites statistics suggesting there are more than 800 million CKD patients worldwide.

“CKD is one of the leading chronic diseases in terms of prevalence, mortality and cost. It is a progressive disease with no cure (but with many treatments for associated conditions) so it can be crucial for patients to slow or stop the progression of the disease,” explains Boulanger. We believe that remote monitoring allows us to anticipate adverse events, allowing clinicians to make timely clinical decisions and allowing patients to be more involved in their own care on a daily basis.

“We will start with terminally ill patients with hyperkalemia problems and expand to patients at an earlier stage,” he adds.

Metyos is in its early stages, but there is growing interest in biowearables, which means competition in this area is increasing. But ICKD’s focus sets it apart from a number of portable rivals. Boulanger lists five startups as his main competitors: Biolinq, Alio, Protonintel, Kalium Health and Renalyse – the latter two also focus on kidney conditions, but in their case patient monitoring is based on home blood tests, rather than real-time data extracted of a biowearable.

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