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Shining a light on the overlooked issue of chronic wounds

Millions of patients across the EU could benefit from a portable device that stimulates tissue healing with near-infrared light and electromagnetic pulses.

Health

The world is facing a ‘silver tsunami’ with most developed nations forecasting a rapid rise in the average age of their citizens. By 2030, one in five people in developed countries will be aged 65 or over, leading to a corresponding rise in the incidence of age-related diseases. Chief among these are type-2 diabetes and obesity, which can lead to chronic wounds that may take years to heal. “It’s a huge issue worldwide, with over 50 million patients and billions in costs every year,” says Jari Kruth, project coordinator of the EU-supported Piomic project. “If you leave a chronic wound as is, it might never heal,” he adds. “They often lead to amputations, and even to death. The problem is quite underestimated.”

Light touch

The solution offered by Piomic Medical – the Swiss firm launched by Kruth with his childhood friend in 2016 – is a reusable device that accelerates the healing of chronic wounds using light with specific wavelengths and electromagnetic stimulation of tissue. The single-button device promotes wound closure by encouraging tissues to transition from the inflammatory phase into the tissue regeneration stage. The device is portable and battery-powered, making it highly accessible. In use, the fist-sized device is attached to a sterile consumable and fixed over the wound for 16 minutes, with the process repeated two to three times a week until the course is complete. The device can be administered at home or in a care environment with minimal training, and may be used for several patients.

Common good

With the support of the EU, Piomic Medical was able to complete a study of the commercial feasibility of the device. “We prepared our minimum viable product, and the economic analysis based on clinical data, to show how much money we could save for the healthcare system,” says Kruth. This economic assessment is essential for Piomic to be able to reach patients. While clinical trials show the Piomic device is safe and effective, Kruth still needs to convince insurers to cover it as part of the treatment options for chronic wounds. “We must show it is beneficial to the complete system, not just to single patients,” he explains.

Next steps

The company is now seeking around EUR 10 million in funding to take the innovation to the next stage and is rebuilding its board of directors with industry experts who can help the company navigate this journey. Piomic calculates a relevant market of EUR 19 billion in the treatment of chronic wounds and plans to reach EUR 35 million in revenue within the coming years. However, Kruth says the driving force behind Piomic is one of social benefit. “I decided to put my skills to use to help people,” he concludes. “Why waste your time if you can do something good?”

Keywords

Piomic, light, electromagnetic, stimulation, chronic, wound, healing, diabetes, age, medical

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