Judges of the CX 2023 Dragon’s Den-style contest — the finale of the Day 3 CX Innovation Showcase programme — described the field of entrants to this year’s edition of the competition as the strongest line-up in its history.
The judging panel of physician-innovators selected HeartEye, a Netherlands-based developer of handheld electrocardiogram (ECG) devices, as the overall winner of the innovation prize, which comes with a £1,000 award. Honourable mention was given to four other entrants from the field of 12.
Peter Doevendans (UMC Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands) gave an overview of the HeartEye technology in a short presentation entitled ‘ECG anytime, anywhere in 60 seconds’, describing it as a “digital transformation” for ECG acquisition. HeartEye is a pocket-sized device that can take clinical-standard ECG readings wirelessly, negating the need for a large, stationary ECG unit.
The technology, which has been developed with the support of an Innovative Medical Devices Initiative (IMDI) grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) is patented, and could be marketed to healthcare providers or direct to consumers within two years, Doevendans explained. “We have been doing this for a number of years, and this was the toughest by far,” said judging panellist Robert Mitchell (Park City, United States), before the announcement of HeartEye as the winner of the prize.
Tilo Kölbel (University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany) launched Mokita Medical, which develops a solution to reduce the risks caused by air embolisation during procedures with large bore devices, such as thoracic endovascular aneurysm repair (TEVAR) and transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). The underlying clinical need rests on data that has shown that air embolisation is a cause of stroke and cognitive decline. Mokita’s technology uses a gas soluble fluid to eliminate air from devices, and is being developed into a disposable device that can be connected to the delivery system for a transcatheter procedure. The company is planning a first-in-man study for 2024, and anticipates commercialisation from 2026 onwards.
Mitchell praised Kölbel’s work in this area as being “really important and impactful”, and said that the entry had been strongly considered for the prize.
Euphrates Vascular, the developer a nano-scale endovascular system to address microvascular occlusion and no reflow, was among those singled out by the judges as being of particular interest. Presenter David Deaton (Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC, USA) told the judges that the Pulse NanoMed device extends the reach of current therapies, and has been given approval to begin a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigational device exemption (IDE) trial in patients with acute ischaemic stroke.
Another technology featured in the session included a non-invasive, wearable monitoring system for arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs), intended to aid early identification of failing AVFs. The innovation, presented by Ali Kordzadeh (Anglia Ruskin University, Braintree, United Kingdom) is worn like a wristwatch by patients to monitor venous outflow. Novel device coating materials were also exhibited, with Tony Simula (Mawson Lakes, Australia) detailing Bioinvisible, a drug-free polymer coating that could replace existing drug coatings in devices such as stents, vascular grafts and heart valves.