Health tech entrepreneur ‘senses’ opportunity to combat vascular disease

Published: 30-Aug-2022

Innovator to trial remote monitoring technology among patients in Leeds

Health tech entrepreneur, Melissa Berthelot, the founder and chief executive of medical device company, WarnerPatch, is working with the Innovation Pop Up to trial her firm’s continuous remote monitoring technology with patients and clinicians at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Dr Berthelot has invented a wearable sensing mechanism which monitors the health of soft tissue to provide real-time and near-future indications of disease evolution. The solution is non-invasive and powered with 5G connectivity, enabling the flow of critical information to clinicians.

WarnerPatch then uses artificial intelligence to predict likely outcomes and generates alerts if symptoms get worse.

WarnerPatch has won backing from Innovate UK and the European Regional Development Fund to build a minimum viable product.

And, with the support of the Innovation PopUp, the company is now finalising product design, addressing regulatory requirements and preparing a pilot project for launch early next year.

Dr Berthelot explains: “Our first goal is to target peripheral vascular disease, a progressive, chronic, and incurable disease which affects 200 million people around the world and can cause embolism, stroke, pulmonary disorder, and renal failure. It’s a gruesome disease.

“Clinicians can use WarnerPatch from the point they suspect the patient has the disease to gather vital data to enhance clinical diagnosis and decision making.

“We anticipate our trial will show that our medical device is acceptable to patients and clinicians and can improve quality of life, reduce emergency admissions and lengths of stay, and prevent disease escalation.”

Regional soft tissue health provides tell-tale signs for any disease involving a regional or general vascular condition. These conditions can evolve either too quickly, or too slowly, for clinicians to have a clear picture of their evolution over time. This can lead to late recognition of deterioration and increased morbidity.

Continuous remote monitoring is the key technology behind the expansion of ‘virtual wards’, a national drive to deliver multidisciplinary care closer to home and relieve pressure on acute hospital beds.

WarnerPatch can monitor patients on wards, enable safe discharge, and support patients after operations. And it can free up clinical time by allowing doctors and nurses to focus on cases with the greatest need.

WarnerPatch joined the Innovation Pop Up in 2021 to develop the company and its technology for adoption and spread across the NHS.

The award-winning centre is based at the Leeds General Infirmary Gilbert Scott building, which is home to a growing community of high-tech start-ups which benefit from access to clinical teams, open-plan work space, and tailored business support and resources.

Dr Berthelot said: “It’s good to be surrounded by like-minded entrepreneurs with different experiences. It helps us learn, share, and grow.

“The Innovation Pop Up and other NHS organisations in Yorkshire have been very helpful for us in fundraising, setting up trials, and accessing the right stakeholders for our product. It is very helpful for starting and building a new company.”

Driven by a love of understanding how things work, Dr Berthelot studied electronic engineering and gained a PhD and MRes in medical robotic and image guided intervention at Imperial College London.

Professor David Brettle, chief scientific officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and founder of the Innovation Pop up, said: “We are delighted to be working with Dr Berthelot and her team at WarnerPatch to help bring this exciting new product to market.

“Our centre is dedicated to transforming the latest advances in science, technology and engineering into products and services that can solve health and care challenges facing Britain and the rest of the world.”

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