Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Trans-Atlantic collaboration aims to tackle type two diabetes

Steve Rogerson
July 28, 2015
 
Gentag, Mayo Clinic, NovioSense and the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits & Systems (IMS) have formed a joint mhealth venture to combat the epidemic of type two diabetes that is overwhelming people and health care systems worldwide.
 
Using their patented combined assets that include advanced chemistry knowledge, proprietary sensor designs, and software and chip (ASIC) design capabilities, the four parties will combine forces to develop a mobile-phone based platform to bring low-cost, on-demand pain free diabetes monitoring to people worldwide. The technology will use consumers’ near field communications (NFC)-enabled smartphones as readers, replacing traditional glucometers.
 
“Many countries will need to deliver type two diabetes solutions to a third of their populations," said James Levine of Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic. “The status quo has to change and these technologies are a critical step in the right direction.”
 
The joint venture is covered by 75 patents worldwide and is said to be significantly lower cost than current type two diabetes systems. Development will be carried out simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic by NovioSense and Gentag, together with the diabetes teams from Mayo Clinic and the sensor and NFC teams of Fraunhofer IMS in Germany.
 
“By pooling our resources together, we are in a position now to dramatically advance diabetes monitoring,” said John Peeters, CEO of Washington-based Gentag. “Our patented technology allows us to make wireless sensors that are battery-less, disposable, painless and use cell phones or other NFC devices as glucometers. Furthermore we can use the cell phones as controllers for insulin delivery, including disposable NFC insulin delivery systems, under our issued worldwide patents.”
 
The collaboration is believed to be a huge step forward in the commercialisation of affordable, disposable diagnostic sensor systems powered by mobile phones. Gentag and NovioSense bring in technology platforms for low cost disposable diabetes sensors powered by any NFC enabled mobile phone or device. Mayo Clinic brings its medical expertise in diabetes and a global medical reach; it will write customised apps for diabetes monitoring applications. Fraunhofer brings its advanced sensor and chip design capabilities.
 
“We want to make pain free glucose monitoring available to everyone independent of their socioeconomic status,” said Dutch company NovioSense CEO Christopher Wilson. “It is only by increasing awareness and by making monitoring simple and affordable that we can hope to push back the tidal wave. By creating a device powered only by the NFC antennas found in most modern smart phones, and combining this with a pain free sensor platform, we can cut the cost and burden of glucose monitoring dramatically.”
 
The combined technology can be implemented for any diabetes application, including long-term implantable sensors, diabetes skin patches or eye (tear drop) sensors, or wireless insulin delivery systems controlled by mobile devices.
 
“This cooperation, especially with NovioSense, enables the Fraunhofer IMS once again to contribute with its competencies in the fields of microelectronic circuits, electronic systems and sensors, and bring those successfully to the market,” said Anton Grabmaier, director of the Fraunhofer IMS.
 
The group of technology and patents will be licensed, sold or co-developed with a large global partner interested in leading the next generation of diabetes monitoring. The deal will be negotiated by Dennis Kozlowski, former CEO of Tyco International, who has been working with Gentag and Mayo Clinic Ventures on this project since inception and will negotiate terms along with Bruce Kline of Mayo Clinic Ventures.