Startup slated to launch injectable, one-year tissue oxygen sensor this year in EU

Lumee optical reader--Courtesy of Profusa

Profusa snagged more than $13 million in venture backing and added a Google VC to its board late last year. Now, it's readying to debut its first product: the Lumee Oxygen Sensing System. The injectable biosensor measures dissolved oxygen in the tissue.

The South San Francisco, CA-based company has submitted for a CE mark and expects to debut it before the end of 2016 for use by vascular surgeons and wound-healing specialists. It's expected to be used to measure tissue oxygen levels during treatment for peripheral artery disease (PAD).

"Most of us only get a once-a-year peek at what's happening inside our body when we visit our doctor," said Ben Hwang in a recent TEDx Vienna interview. "Yet the most valuable and important information comes from having a 'conversation' with your body in order to make timely choices and action corrections when your body data is available in real time and when it matters."

The research behind Profusa's tissue-integrated biosensors was backed by DARPA, the National Institutes of Health and other agencies. It's designed to be used long-term--for more than a year--and to overcome the body's rejection response to foreign objects. The biosensors are made of smart hydrogel and form a porous, tissue-integrating scaffold to induce capillary and cellular ingrowth from the surrounding tissue.

Lumee sensor under the skin and optical reader--Courtesy of Profusa

The smart gel is a flexible fiber about 3 to 5 mm long and about 500 microns in diameter. It is linked to a light-emitting molecule that continuously signals the presence of a body chemical such as oxygen, glucose or another biomarker.

The smart gel is read by an optical reader that adheres to the skin's surface or is held by hand to detect the fluorescent signal from the embedded biosensor. The reader sends excitation signals through the skin to the biosensor, which in turn emits fluorescent light proportional to the concentration of particular molecules.

Data is related to a smartphone app that is an encrypted personal record that offers historical tracking. It can be shared via HIPAA-compliant networks with healthcare providers.

"What this technology will mean is that the entire spectrum of stakeholders in the health care system will fundamentally alter the way they do things," Hwang said.

Last December, Profusa raised a $13.2 million Series B financing that was led by Beijing venture capital firm 3E Bioventures. It also added Google VP of Global Partnerships Joan Braddi to its board.

- here is the release

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