Thursday, May 6, 2021
Biosensor startup Altair Medical aims to bring hospital grade respiratory monitoring into the home and avoid premature deaths.
Breathing is so natural that we often take it for granted, but the lung is the internal organ most vulnerable to infection and injury from the external environment. Scottish biosensor startup Altair Medical aims to bring hospital grade respiratory monitoring into the home and avoid premature deaths. It has raised £2.25 million (€2.6 million) of pre-series A funding to continue to develop its respiratory sensor and AI-based real-time monitoring platform.
After circulatory diseases and cancer, respiratory diseases are the third leading cause of death in EU countries, causing some 366 000 deaths in 2017 or 8% of all deaths, according to an OECD report. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the most common cause of mortality among respiratory diseases, followed by pneumonia.
Founded in 2018, Altair Medical has been developing Respmeter, a wireless chest-worn sensor that monitors breathing in real-time, alerting the patient, household members or emergency services to life-threatening changes. The company claims Respmeter can accurately detect when someone is suffering from Opioid Induced Respiratory Depression (OIRD), which can progress to respiratory failure and cause death.
Altair’s proprietary technology uses algorithms to monitor and analyze respiratory patterns, and when OIRD is detected, it sends a message to designated first responders, or emergency services, who can administer the reversal agent naloxone.
Altair said its AI-based monitoring platform has been designed to monitor large numbers of patients in any location simultaneously.
After three years of laboratory R&D, Altair Medical began initial clinical trials in NHS hospitals in October 2020. A series of clinical trials will continue throughout 2021 and beyond. In addition to expanding NHS clinical trials to new patient groups in care facilities and at home, the startup said it is collaborating with a leading Scottish university to develop insights on the efficacy of inhaled medications.
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) awarded the Company Breakthrough Device designation for Altair’s wearable biosensor device in 2020. Altair technology is now undergoing patent approval in the US and UK.
“From my work as a forensic medical examiner, I witnessed a large number of preventable deaths from patients with respiratory conditions,” Altair’s CEO Bruce Henderson stated. “This inspired me to build up a team of specialists to develop the technology, which is now undergoing clinical trials in a range of respiratory conditions.”
Led by Alba Equity, the pre-Series round of financing includes Equity Gap, Intuitive Investment Group plc (IIG), London and Scottish Investment Partners and Scottish Enterprise. The money will be used to validate the performance characteristics of the technology prior to applying for Class 2 Medical Device regulatory clearance and “launch the device in the UK, US, and other countries in the near future,” said Henderson.
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