Needle-Free Diabetes Monitoring: Interview with the Co-Founder of GlucoWise

GlucoWise Cover 3

The needle-free revolution for diabetes is coming! We interviewed Panos Kosmas, co-founder of MediWise, to get the juicy details of GlucoWise. This revolutionary wireless device could free the more than 422 million people living with diabetes worldwide from the daily pain of conventional glucose monitoring.

Panos Kosmas is the co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of MediWise, a company developing wireless devices for diagnostics and disease monitoring. Its flagship product, GlucoWise, is all the rage in the diabetes community since it promises unlimited, needle-free glucose monitoring.

The device is portable and easy to use: the user just needs to place it on the skin between the thumb and forefinger to take a glucose measurement, which will be sent to a mobile app to keep track of glucose levels over time. Most importantly, GlucoWise could reduce the long-term complications of diabetes by improving the patient’s control over their own health. Already excited? Here are all the details:

glucowise platform

How are clinical trials going?

Last September we did a small human trial at the University of Roehampton. Results are promising: we have observed a correlation between our readings and those made with standard invasive methods.”

The trial consisted of 10 healthy volunteers whose glucose levels were measured over time with GlucoWise and compared to results using an invasive method. In the next few months, MediWise is planning to run a new small trial in which volunteers will be injected glucose and their levels will be monitored for more than one glucose cycle.

glucowise clinical trial

When will GlucoWise be available?

We estimate we can launch pre-orders in 2018. Our goal is to first obtain CE marking and then FDA approval.”

This is great news for the 60 million Europeans dealing with diabetes. However, the process will require substantial funding to meet this deadline. MediWise is aiming to raise €3M within the next year, which will be used to scale up human trials and obtain market approval.

We’re talking with various big players for future partnerships.”

So far, the development of GlucoWise is mainly running through research partnerships with King’s College London funded by Innovate UK, as well as cash from winning the first prize at the MIT Global Innovation Award in 2014.

glucowise team
The MediWise Team

What about pricing?

The device will be cheaper than what people are using at the moment. It will last for 3 years with no additional costs, instead of buying test strips again and again as is the norm currently.”

The team at MediWise has surveyed consumers, which consider the projected price reasonable. For a single patient, the cost of test strips themselves average €720 per year, so not only will GlucoWise provide comfort, but also unlimited testing for a lower price.

The device could reduce costs for healthcare, which in the case of diabetes account for more than €140B a year in Europe.”

The Diabetes Control & Complications Trial (DCCT) demonstrated that the intensive management that GlucoWise aims to make possible can reduce long-term complications by up to 76%. Panos reckons that this will impulse the reimbursement of the device, either partially or entirely, by public health departments.

What makes GlucoWise better than other devices?

The main competitor for GlucoWise comes from Israel: Glucotrack, from Integrity Applications, combines electromagnetic, ultrasonic and thermal measurements and is intended for type 2 diabetes. The product has attained CE Marking for commercialization in Europe, but not FDA approval yet.

We believe we can offer better accuracy than what’s out there. However, it is still subjected to testing. Our device uses radio waves in the 60GHz range, which haven’t been harnessed for glucose monitoring before.”

Unlike other devices that measure waves reflected off the skin, GlucoWise monitors the attenuation of electromagnetic waves after they cross the skin. The wavelength is optimized to increase resolution, i.e. the ability to detect smaller changes, without sacrificing sensitivity.

One of the solutions we have patented is a metamaterial that can be placed between the hand and the sensor and cancels reflection from the skin to allow more energy to penetrate and make it to the sensor on the other side.”

GlucoWise prototype
The current prototype

The strong customer-oriented focus of the company might also be key to launching a successful product and outperform competitors. A perfect example is the implementation of a mobile app, still under development, that communicates with the device via bluetooth to display and store glucose readings:

The app is an important part of our solution. We asked over 3,500 people what features they wanted: the app will record info on food intake and exercise and provide guidance on what the patient should do.”

With the diabetes epidemic increasing at an alarming rate, GlucoWise could make a huge difference for millions of people. Who’s in?

All images courtesy of MediWise





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