€1.5m for photonic chip heart monitor

€1.5m for photonic chip heart monitor

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Amazec Photonics in the Netherlands has raised €1.5m to develop a new generation of heart monitor based on its photonic chip.

The Amazec photonic sensor can measure temperature changes to a precision of 0.0001˚C (compared to current accuracy of 0.01˚C) allowing an external heart monitor rather than using catheters that need to be inserted. Multiple measurements can be made in real time which also improves reliability over the single measurement used in current methods. 

The round was led by PhotonDelta, a cross-border growth accelerator and ecosystem of photonic chip technology organisations, with a number of private investors also contributing. The funding will be used to develop devices for clinical trials. 

“With this funding round we will be able to build ten prototypes and undertake extensive clinical trials with the intention of producing and selling devices across the EU by 2028,” said Pim Kat, CEO and co-founder of Amazec Photonics (above).  “Our patented method will give an almost real time insight into the cardiac and volume status of the patient with a non-invasive, easy to apply measurement,”

Amazec will begin clinical trials of its device at Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven this year, with an expansion to three other hospitals planned in 2025 with the aim of beginning full scale production and sale across the EU in 2028. 

The Amazec Photonics system is based on earlier R&D projects by Technobis Fibre Technologies for ASML, FEI (high resolution FBG sensing) and AMC (hyperthermia sensor development). Amazec improved the integrated photonics chip and the stability of the integrated photonics system. It also developed new algorithms for data processing required for transforming recorded raw data to useful signals and graphs. 

“Our solution can make a real difference because, not only does it vastly improve the accuracy of testing for cardiovascular disease, it is also much less invasive and simpler to use. This will substantially reduce costs and open the door to many more people being tested much more regularly,” said Kat.

Cardiovascular diseases are the world’s leading cause of death accounting for 19 million deaths a year. This is in part due to the difficulty in diagnosing conditions which leads to delays in treatment.

Existing monitors are complex, invasive and often inaccurate. The most common technique to measure cardiac output is called thermodilution which involves injecting a known volume of liquid upstream of the heart and then measuring temperature changes downstream through specialised catheters inserted into the patient. This has several drawbacks including an inability to be used reliably during routine examination, large variation between measurements, a lack of sensitivity and high costs. Consequently, it often leads to late or misdiagnosis, severely impacting the outlook for patients.

Multiple IDCs measurements increase robustness and reliability of cardiac output compared to the single measurements used in current methods. This also enables calculation of CTBV, which is an important and highly relevant new clinical parameter that can be used to measure the amount of blood in the body.

“The photonics based system will show details of heart performance and circulating blood volume that are normally lost in noise, when using best performing electrical sensors. It will give detailed insight in performance of cardiac functions based on non-invasive measurement of blood temperature variations,” said Kat.

“After injecting 10cc of cold Saline in the blood flow, we measure Cardiac Output and Ejection Fraction from the first pass of the thermodilution curve. This is not new. However we also detect a second pass of the thermodilution curve  after a full circulation through the body of the dispersed cold saline,” he added.

The heart monitor with the photonic chip enables calculation of the Total Thermal Circulating Blood Volume, a very critical parameter at surgery with significant blood losses, trauma, but also in patients with for instance kidney insufficiency or heart failure.

PhotonDelta is aiming to help build 200 startups, create new applications for photonic chips and develop infrastructure and talent.


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