There are a wide variety of thermal treatment possibilities, one of them being radio frequency (RF) waves to introduce heat locally. For cutaneous Leishmaniasis (CL), a skin disease found in over 98 countries, such a treatment has been around for over 20 years. By reverse-engineering the only RF device widely used on the CL treatment market, we’ve built a prototype with the same functional principle. Through research and testing, shortcomings in the original device were rectified. By introducing a non-contact measurement method, we decrease the side-effects of the treatment while at the same time improving its controllability. Our unique selling proposition is a high-quality RF-treatment thanks to integrated temperature measurement at an affordable price. Benefiting from the partnership with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), we plan to establish an initial business in the CL treatment market, where drug treatment with severe side effects has been prevalent. Valued at 31 million USD, it is a niche, yet global market still in its introduction phase. By lowering the cost of the device and improving patient safety the accessibility of the treatment method creates an alternative to drug treatment and improves the quality of life for millions of patients.
A minimal viable product has been developed based on researched customer and market needs. It can deliver treatment with an adjustable temperature within a ±1°C accuracy and features a user interface and information display about the duration of the application. The device is portable and operated by batteries allowing for use in rural areas. Tests performed on porcine and human skin, show an increases patient safety and uniform heat up of the application area. Further technical improvement points have been determined and priorities of implementation are being evaluated. The next steps include an in vivo trial set up with the help of our partner DNDi to prove the efficacy of the treatment delivered by the device. Simultaneously details on the partnership and procedure to gain the WHO as the first customer will be worked out. Gaining the WHO as a customer will be a big step forward for the project and foresees simplified licensing possibilities which will enable us to go into the second phase of the project where a spin-off will be created. Apart from the funding grant by the Gebert Rüf First Ventures program, an Innosuisse proposal has been submitted.
Persons involved in the project
Last update to this project presentation 21.11.2022