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Glucose monitor gives continuous reading with needle-free technology

January 6, 2012 11:29 am by | 0 Comments

A medical device company with a glucose monitoring system offering needle-free technology providing a constant reading of glucose levels for diabetics sees opportunities for transdermal drug-delivery uses for the product.

Echo Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ECTE) is poised to begin a new clinical trial of its glucose monitoring system next month, this time for critical care patients. The move follows a successful trial of the device on healthy people last year by the Philadelphia company.

The needle-free, transdermal device can give a continuous read of a patient’s glucose levels, which would be more efficient and less invasive for patients in hospital settings and in the daily ritual by diabetics of checking their levels.

Instead of using needles, like other glucose monitoring systems approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Echo uses a skin preparation system that measures the electrical conductivity of the skin region where the monitoring takes place.

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The system, which removes the outermost layer of the epidermis, turns off automatically when the conductivity measurement reaches the appropriate level, , according to the company. There are two components to the device — Prelude, the skin preparation system, and the Symphony biosensor, which measures the glucose levels.

Last year, it conducted a clinical trial of the device on healthy people involving more than 2,600 Symphony tCGM glucose readings from 20 study subjects paired with reference blood glucose measurements. The trial showed that more than 94 percent of the readings were clinically accurate and 2.5 percent were benign errors. The mean absolute rate deviation,  MARD, or  error rate for the study was 12.6 percent. Values for blood glucose measurements ranged from 38 to 399 mg/dL. There were no adverse events reported from the Prelude skin permeation or the Symphony tCGM biosensor, according to the medical device company.

The company claims its error rate is better than rival continuous glucose monitoring devices produced by DexCom and Medtronic (NYSE:MDT). Medtronic launched its mySentry device earlier this week.

The company’s Prelude and Symphony devices were developed at MIT in Boston, Massachusetts by Dr. Bob Langer. Although the company relocated to Philadelphia last year, the manufacturing side of the business will stay in the Boston area.

Although its initial applications are focused on diabetics and critical care patients, the medical device company sees potential for enhanced transdermal drug-delivery applications, said Dr. Patrick Mooney, the CEO and chairman. Applications could include biomarkers, alcohol and drug abuse, and drug administration and verification. It puts the value of the transdermal drug-delivery market at $5.6 billion.

Echo most recently received warrant exercises generating about $3.6 million in cash proceeds, bringing its year-end cash balance to $9.2 million.

Mooney said although it would like to stay independent, the company is open to other options.

“Our preferred model would be to go it alone, but alternatively we are open to other alternatives that would create shareholder value. We think the milestones from the business should drive value in the short- and long-term.”

Echo Therapeutics CEO Patrick Mooney

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Stephanie Baum

By Stephanie Baum

Stephanie Baum is the East Coast Innovation Reporter for MedCityNews.com. She enjoys covering healthcare startups across health IT, drug development and medical devices and innovations deployed to improve medical care. She graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania and has worked across radio, print and video. She's written for The Christian Science Monitor, Dow Jones & Co. and United Business Media.
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