MC10, University of Rochester to test stretchable medical sensors, develop predictive health analytics

By Brian Dolan
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MC10_BiostampThe University of Rochester has teamed up with Cambridge, Massachusetts-based medical sensor company MC10 to test the company's BioStamp platform in clinical settings and help it develop its disease-specific algorithms for predictive health analytics. The partnership's efforts will be led by the school's Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, but various researchers at the university will be involved. MC10 will open a Rochester office to support the initiative and it plans to work with graduate and undergraduate students there on research projects.

While MC10's CEO, Scott Pomerantz is an alum of the university and is a member of the dean's advisory council there, MC10's relationship with researchers at the school actually pre-dates Pomerantz's arrival at MC10 last year. The company has had a longstanding relationship with the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Dr. Ray Dorsey, who most recently made headlines as one of the first researchers to leverage Apple's ResearchKit with a clinical research app, called mPower, with Parkinson's patients.

"We fit beautifully within what [Dorsey] is trying to accomplish with mPower," Pomerantz told MobiHealthNews in an interview. "That is trying to collect data from the body in a format that is flexible and comfortable -- a way that the patient will actually want to wear it."

Pomerantz said that a lot of the sensor information researchers want to collect from patients isn't best tracked from the wrist, and a platform like MC10's BioStamp can support peel-and-stick, flexible, stretchable sensors that can be placed on various parts of the body, like the chest or ankle. 

“Connected health technologies hold the potential to disrupt the way we monitor the progression of neurodegenerative disorders today and to assess the response to novel therapeutics,” Dr. Dorsey said in a statement. “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. Through the seamless exchange of data between patients and physicians we can move healthcare outside of the clinic and truly overcome distance and disability.”

Notably, MC10's previously announced partnership with Belgian pharma company UCB is also focused on therapies for neurological conditions.

That said, MC10’s highest profile product is its CheckLight mesh cap, co-developed with Reebok, designed to provide realtime feedback about athlete head injuries. The company has previously discussed a wide variety of products in development: a patch that measures hydration in near realtime, a wristband that tracks heart rate and activity, and a skin patch that alerts the wearer’s smartphone when it’s time to reapply sunscreen. On the medical side, the company is developing a skin patch thermometer for remotely monitoring a baby’s temperature as well as stretchable sensors for internal use in catheters and surgical implantation for post-surgical monitoring. Finally, the company has teamed up with the US Army to develop flexible solar panels.

Pomerantz joined MC10 as CEO about nine months ago, and around the time of his arrival he indicated that finding a focus for MC10 was paramount.

Pomerantz said this week that MC10's focus is healthcare. It will continue to move into other areas through its partners -- and Pomerantz indicated that there is a very wide variety of applications for its technology -- but in the short term its own research efforts will be focused on collecting meaningful data from patients while they are outside of clinical settings and developing disease-specific algorithms to make that data actionable for preventive health.

MC10 will bring some of its first disease-specific, commercial products to market through partners like pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Pomerantz said to expect the first such launch this year and a steady stream of commercial product launches throughout 2016. MC10 will also develop research products through partnerships like the one announced with the University of Rochester this week.

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