The Latest Example of Wearables Moving into Clinical Realm

A developer of a novel, wearable biometric sensing platform teams up with a prominent university to bring the power of data analytics to the healthcare realm.

May 28, 2015

3 Min Read
The Latest Example of Wearables Moving into Clinical Realm

A developer of a novel, wearable biometric sensing platform teams up with a prominent university to bring the power of data analytics to the healthcare realm.

Arundhati Parmar

Last year, Wende Hutton, a venture capitalist from Canaan Partners, a West Coast firm, predicted that wearables would move from the "worried well" consumer market to focus on advancing clinical medicine

The latest example of that effort comes from MC10 that is aiming to create a whole new category of truly unobtrusive, yet powerful biometric sensing wearables. The Cambridge, Massachusetts company, announced Thursday that is collaborating with the University of Rochester’s Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to translate patient data into actionable insight.

"At MC10 we believe that technologies to enable better clinical decision making are instrumental for improving American health, said Scott Pomerantz, CEO of MC10, in a news release. “We are building the team, technology and partnerships to be better positioned than ever to have a transformational impact on healthcare.”

The collaboration will bring MC10's BioStamp platform, comprising its biosensing devices, related software and a cloud compuitng and storage capability, into various clinical environments. The biosensive devices are sticker-like, ultra-thin and soft wearable computers that are placed directly on the body. The sensor is designed to improve a wearer's comfort level and boost compliance necessary to collect data, explained Elyse Winer, vice president of marketing at MC10, in an email.

Further, the sensors are clinical grade and collect human physiological data such as body movement, heart rate and temperature, from any part on the human body to deliver meaningful information to the wearer and clinicians. 

By putting the BioStamp platform in various clinical environments, University of Rochester researchers will help MC10 to accelerate its own development efforts while themselves advancing the university's priority to transform medicine by leveraging technology and data.

The university has committed $100 million in the creation of the Georgen Institute for Data Science, a center focused on using healthcare data and analytics in medicine. Meanwhile, MC10 will open an office in Rochester, New York, to support the collaboration.

The company also plans to team up with graduate students from the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Dr. Ray Dorsey, professor of Neurology and director of the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Rochester Medical Center will lead research efforts in the area of neurodegenerative disease.

"Wearable sensors, like those from MC10, can enable objective, sensitive, frequent assessments of an individual’s condition to improve their health and advance new treatments for neurological conditions," Dorsey said in the news release.
"Through the seamless exchange of data between patients and physicians we can move healthcare outside of the clinic and truly overcome distance and disability.”

MC10's sensors have been commercialized in the form of a first product when the company teamed up with Reebok to create Checklight, a skullcap embedded with the company's electronics to assess direct impact to a player's head. 

The company has raised $60 million to date from undisclosed investors as well as others such as North Bridge Venture Partners, Braemar Energy Ventures, Windham Venture Partners, Aberdare Ventures, Osage University Partners, Terawatt Ventures, Medtronic and Mitsui Ventures.

MC10 is also targeting several different industries aside from the healthcare and wellness markets. In medical devices, the company's website lists the development of advanced interventional catheters that are flexible unlike the rigid catheters of today. But no updates on that product's progress were available.

Wearables have engendered a lot of excitement but there are reports of high abandon rates. For MC10 and indeed any other wearable platform to succeed, and bring meaningful change to how medicine is practiced, that hurdle will be the first one that would need to be overcome.

Arundhati Parmar is senior editor at MD+DI. Reach her at [email protected] and on Twitter @aparmarbb 

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