The Silicon Review
Diabetes is a well-known chronic disease that affects your blood glucose levels. Once the doctor informs you that you have diabetes, you will have to make significant changes to your lifestyle. Along other things, you will have to regularly monitor your blood glucose levels. Monitoring these levels will help you better manage your condition, potentially avoiding many of its unfortunate side-effects. With these insights, you can work closely with your healthcare provider to come up with the best diabetes care plan, which includes taking specific medicines, eating different foods, and being physically active.
Globally, there are various companies delivering excellent methods to monitor blood sugar levels, but QuLab Medical Ltd stands out from the rest. QuLab Medical is developing a minimally invasive patch for continuously monitoring multiple metabolites (CMM) using proprietary nanotechnology-based diagnostic chip sensor design and manufacturing techniques. QuLab’s first product - FirstQ™, will allow patients to monitor their entire metabolic profiles effortlessly and continuously and will provide them, via a dedicated app, with actionable insights for achieving metabolic balance to promote and improve their overall health status.
In conversation with Idan Tamir, Founder and CEO of QuLab Medical Ltd
Q. What are the challenges you had to face while developing your solutions? How did you overcome them?
The main challenge we have had to face so far was reaching sensor reproducibility and manufacturing scalability. This challenge stems from the fact that our proprietary Silicon Nanowire Field-Effect Transistor (SiNW-FET) amplified electrochemical sensors require a dedicated wafer-based process for their fabrication. Such a process can only be performed in a FAB that can scale up production to the level of several thousand wafers per day. This is a classical catch22 situation where you cannot engage a FAB facility before you have finalized chip design optimization, but part of this process requires a FAB for its performance.
The way we have overcome this challenge was to engage early with several nano-centers having a variety of nano and MicroElectroMechanical System (MEMS) fabrication capabilities. These centers operate as mini-FABs, which allowed us to test and optimize multiple approaches to sensor chip design and manufacturing. Once the key fabrication processes were chosen, validated, and optimized, we reached out to identify the FABs that were capable of performing them. Finally, one FAB was chosen and contracted for further fabrication process development and scaleup. It is important to emphasize that we wouldn’t have been able to contract this FAB without the prior groundbreaking work of optimizing the basic fabrication processes and overall chip design.
Tell us about your data privacy and compliance system.
This is still work in progress, but we are following the market leaders regarding data privacy and compliance standards. We have partnered with several medical device and digital health manufacturers to ensure that our solution conforms to the highest available standards.
Q. How does your solution align with the existing medical practice?
Our vision is aligned with the current and ongoing trend of shifting healthcare provision from hospitals and medical centers to patients’ homes. We believe that QuLab Medical’s unique Continuous Metabolic Monitoring (CMM) patch will allow physicians and healthcare providers to better monitor their patients remotely and continuously, alerting them to potentially life-threatening conditions. Such conditions include not only hypo- and hyperglycemia (abnormal decrease and increase in blood sugar concentrations, respectively), which are well-known circumstances for type I and II diabetic patients, but also diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which is a complication arising from insufficient insulin levels in such patients. Moreover, our CMM patch will benefit not only diabetic patients but also the general population that is at risk of developing metabolic diseases. By continuously monitoring metabolite levels in people at risk and using machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI)-based algorithms for their analysis, metabolic patterns that eventually lead to disease initiation and progression could be identified and alerted to. This is expected to result in the development of much-improved disease prevention strategies, reducing overall healthcare costs and shifting the current paradigm of diabetic care from treatment to prevention.
Q. Tell us about the importance of monitoring diabetes and the capabilities of your sensors.
As already discussed, the key to effective diabetes management is prevention over treatment. Moreover, diabetes is a complex disease, and a personalized approach to continuously monitoring multiple key metabolites will help us better understand its multiple traits. We believe that our sensors will allow capturing such data with improved sensitivity and specificity than existing solutions on the market.
Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?
We are currently focusing our efforts on the preclinical and clinical phase of our development program, expecting to launch our first products in the market early in 2023.
Q. What does the future hold for your company and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?
QuLab Medical is creating CMM as a totally new market category that will revolutionize the field of continuous health monitoring. We envision a world in which people take control of their health by educating themselves on their personal metabolism and understanding their specific metabolic traits. It will help them better manage their weight, health, and overall long-term well-being.
Meet the leaders behind the success of QuLab Medical Ltd
Dr. Idan Tamir, Founder and CEO of QuLab Medical, has over 20 years of entrepreneurship and CEO experience in the areas of Medical Devices and Diagnostics. He started his career as an IDF Intelligence Officer, followed by a PhD in immunology from the Weizmann Institute of Science and post-doctoral training at National Jewish Hospital in Denver (CO). Idan was President and CEO of the RAD BioMed accelerator, helping create over 10 successful companies with several significant exits. In his subsequent role as Founder and CEO of several medical device startup companies he brought multiple new products from concept to international sales in record time with limited budget.
Dr. Sharon Lefler – QuLab Medical’s Co-Founder – brings a broad knowledge of human physiology under normal as well as different disease conditions, which was established during his graduate and undergraduate studies in the field of cell and developmental biology at the department of cell research and immunology at Tel Aviv University as well as during his work at the Friedrich Miescher Institute, Novartis, Switzerland. Dr. Lefler has high expertise in the fields of nanomaterials, nanoelectronics and nanosensing, acquired during his postdoctoral training and research fellow position at the school of chemistry and the Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at the Faculty of Exact Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Israel. Sharon is an inventor of several granted and pending patents.