Medical Device Daily Associate

Bio-Nano Sensium Technologies (Abingdon, UK), a subsidiary of Advance Nanotech (New York), reported what it said was a “significant step forward for” wireless biosensors, with its filing of a patent application on a new technology designed to automatically bring imbedded biosensors into conformance with international frequency and operating requirements.

Wireless biosensors are increasingly seen as a desirable treatment for a range of chronic conditions including diabetes, cardiac conditions and asthma. The company said that until now, patients with embedded or worn wireless biosensors had difficulty traveling internationally. Frequency and operating regulations differ from nation to nation, and the results of transmitting and receiving wireless signals on a prohibited spectrum range from irritation to fatal consequences for the person using the biosensor.

Bio-Nano Sensium Technologies is a joint venture between Advance Nanotech and Toumaz Technology (also Abingdon), a developer of advanced radio frequency (RF), analog and mixed signal semiconductors.

Advance Nanotech is one of a growing number of companies looking to bring the nanotech concept from the realm of scientific theory to the reality of usable products.

According to CEO Magnus Gittins, the company was founded to “bridge the innovation gap” between early-stage nanotechnology companies and the capital markets.

He said two things are primarily driving this new opportunity within the space.

The first transformational event, he told Medical Device Daily, is “academia’s repositioning of itself within the supply chain of new technologies within the market.”

He said there is a “growing willingness on the part of academic institutes to supply later-stage, more mature technologies in order to create additional revenues.”

The other important factor Gittins noted is the increased interest from larger businesses in lowering their research and development costs by “outsourcing innovation,” essentially pulling in new technologies from outside the company.

Advance Nanotech is able to fill the gap between the financing of early-stage technology and transferring that knowledge to the marketplace, a gap that Gittins said the increasingly conservative venture capital market has become much less inclined to fill of late.

“That’s created this opportunity for Advance Nanotech with our funds in place to create a diversified portfolio of technologies and to fund those technologies to a point in which they can be licensed in, or sold, or IPO’d, or M&A’d with the much larger businesses who are willing to pay a premium for these technologies once they’ve been proven out in a laboratory.”

Narrowing down the scope to the Bio-Nano Sensium mission, Gittins said that the goal of the j-v is take nanotechnology to a new level and actually incorporate it into medical implants “to actually diagnose and potentially treat chronic conditions such as diabetes.”

Since the human body does not function in the digital realm, the aim is to take the analog inputs of Toumaz and convert them into the digital space for processing.

The goal is to [ultimately] utilize the 14 patents that Toumaz has in the field of ultra low-power mixed-signal processing “to build a platform technology for the next generation of implantable and wearable biosensors,” Gittins said.

This latest patent is the first filed by Bio-Nano Sensium in the past year in its own name, with a plan to file additional patents by year’s end. Bio-Nano Sensium also has exclusive access to Toumaz Technology’s entire patent portfolio in the bio-nano field.

“The technology we are patenting is a huge step forward in our goal of developing biosensor platforms that have real and immediate impact in the treatment of chronic conditions,” said Keith Errey, CEO of Toumaz. “We have worked diligently over the past four years to develop a patented, low-power platform technology to leverage for this kind of important commercial application. It is gratifying to see us come a large step closer to realizing this goal.”

While the new company now has a basic platform with the Sensium technology, Gittins said the next challenge is to take that platform and build an interface “between the microelectronics world in which this processing platform operates and the biological world of the body itself.”

One challenge the company is currently facing is what Gittins termed the “interface layer.”

As an example of this interface layer, he cited the area of diabetes. He said that a biosensor should be able to measure subcutaneous fluids to get a better view of glucose levels within the blood and then for that processing platform to use its ultra-low power capability to turn that into some useful information, which can be interpreted by an implanted insulin pump or some wireless phone or PDA device.

These difficulties aside, it appears that this technology is much closer to being a reality than previously believed. Gittins said he is confident that we will see these biosensors incorporated into real products within the next two years.

“This technology is helping to bridge the world of microelectronics and the biological world so that you can create a much more intelligent and low-cost product,” he said.