Engineering 101

Developing Wearable Ultrasound Patches for Non-Invasive Monitoring

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Pulsify Medical, a digital medical technology company focused on the development of wearable ultrasound patches, announced the first closing of its seed funding round, raising €2.6m. Imec.xpand and KU Leuven led the investment together and were joined by University Hospitals Leuven.

As a spin-off of imec and KU Leuven, Pulsify Medical will build on the unique and IP-protected technology of both research institutes: on the one hand, imec’s unique flexible ultrasound transducer technology and design know-how for transducers, thin film transistors and system architecture, and on the other hand, KU Leuven’s world-class expertise in cardiac ultrasound imaging.

Pulsify Medical was founded as Carpatchiot B.V. in June 2019 by Professor Jan D’hooge (KU Leuven, University Hospitals Leuven), Dr Lieven Herbots (Jesse Hospital, University Hospitals Leuven), Xavier Rottenberg (imec) and Steve Stoffels (imec). Iwan Van Vijfeijken and Chris Japp are joining as CEO and independent Chairman of the Board, respectively.

Pulsify Medical brings together a very seasoned and experienced leadership team. Mr. Chris Japp, independent Chairman of the Board, is a 30 year veteran of the medical device industry, having worked around the world at large healthcare companies such as GE, Boston Scientific, Pentax Medical, and Hitachi Medical in senior leadership capacities.

He has also served on several company boards, and has a successful track record in early and mid stage company development. Chris also has extensive experience in ultrasound technology, products, and solutions in multiple clinical areas, particularly in cardiac applications. He is currently the CEO and Managing Director of Keeler, based in the UK.

Mr Iwan van Vijfeijken, CEO, has over 25 years of professional experience in a very broad set of industries including MedTech & Life Sciences, Semiconductors and Electronics. He has led several medical device companies, including start-ups.

Mr Steve Stoffels is VP Technology, with over 15 years’ experience in researching and developing cutting edge micro-technologies. He has extensive experience both in the field of micro-mechanics as well as semiconductors, bringing new concepts from incubation in the lab to manufacturable technologies in the fab.

Iwan van Vijfeijken, CEO of Pulsify Medical, said: “We envision a breakthrough in ultrasound-based medical imaging. Accurate and non-invasive cardiac monitoring will change current practice at intensive care units. In Europe, approximately 70 million people suffer from cardiovascular diseases of which each year 15% are hospitalized.

“Our technology will follow patients’ basic health parameters all over the hospital and at home, without requiring the intervention of specially trained individuals to obtain and interpret results. Changes in the functioning of the heart will be signaled, allowing doctors to intervene.”

Xavier Rottenberg, Scientific Director at imec stated: “Ultrasound imaging is a safe technique to produce images with exquisite details revealing critical information on a patient’s health. However, it isn’t yet widely available as a monitoring tool in intensive care units, let alone in ambulatory settings. Pulsify Medical will change this. We will improve life quality, by preventing adverse events and allowing shorter hospital stays, and we will even save lives.”

Frank Bulens, Partner at imec.xpand, added: “We are extremely pleased to have a stellar team in place to develop a smart device for accurate, continuous monitoring of vital functions of the human body non-invasively and wirelessly, and hence generate opportunities in the hospital and home setting which do not exist today.”

Professor Jan D’hooge, KU Leuven and University Hospitals Leuven, concluded: “Pulsify Medical will integrate and mature state-of-the-art technologies from two world-class Leuven-based research institutes. The technology platform provided by KU Leuven is based on over ten years of research and has extensively been tested at University Hospitals Leuven. Pulsify Medical’s product will open up new application domains for ultrasound that go well beyond cardiac diagnostics.”

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