What this does mean, however, is that a lot of medicine is based on educated, evidence-based, guesswork. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with this, but it does pose questions about how much time, money, and resources can be saved by cutting out the art aspect of medicine.

So, what could happen to medicine if the guesswork was dramatically reduced? You should ask Presymptom Health.

The background

On the battlefield, just as in civilian life, injury and wounds can spell the beginning of the end. Infection can run rampant despite absolute best efforts and leading practice. The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the US Department of Defence (DOD) were aware of this, and were looking at specific ways to detect infection, more specifically sepsis (organ dysfunction caused by infectious disease), in wounded battlefield casualties.

Presymptom Health Sepsis 1

This condition is a killer, and is often diagnosed when it is quite late on, as the detection as well as the treatment can differ from doctor to doctor, medic to medic. One opinion may say one thing, one may say another.

In terms of detection, it’s a nightmare. Current methods of detection involve looking for a specific infectious agent to treat, rather than prevention or how the body itself is responding to the infectious agent. A novel way of searching for sepsis and other infections was needed – and it needed to be consistent and able to be cross-referenced using data that is readily available across the medical profession.

The approach

Presymptom’s scientists developed a novel approach to detecting sepsis and infection that allows them to dismiss a huge amount of guesswork when it comes to diagnosing the infection of sepsis – even with patients who have heretofore demonstrated no symptoms.

By tackling the problem of educated guesswork head on, a data-bank based on multiple, regulated, and global clinical trials was created in order to use new technologies such as machine learning to aid in the diagnosis of infection. Machine learning continues to improve as more good data is input into it, and can cross-corroborate hundreds of thousands of data points within seconds, leading to quick and near-definitive outputs. This can then be put on the cloud, so that doctors across the globe are able to access it with little financial and time cost.

The benefits

By using this novel approach, the technology can also be rolled out with the same methodology and technology to other infections, leading to quicker diagnoses, better treatment, and more efficient use of medical staff time, and therefore money. For government-run social security systems, such as the UK’s own National Health Service (NHS), this means that treatment can be far cheaper as less trial and error takes place, less time is needed to be spent on diagnosis, and people can get better quicker.

Presymptom Health Sepsis 2

On top of this benefit, the quality of care is more likely to then leave abetter taste in people’s mouths, ensuring that the reputation of the NHSand other health services remains high, with more people in support of continued investment in the long run – investments that at their heart arepaid for by taxes.

On a more global scale, improved accuracy of diagnoses on infections means that development of the global rise in the resistance to antibiotics that the World Health Organisation (WHO) consistently warns us of, with a predicted 10 million deaths a year by 2050, can be slowed. Simply put, the more resistant agents become due to over-use and inappropriate use of antibiotics, the less effective those same antibiotics are. With better and more accurate diagnoses in the first instance, the right treatments can be prescribed, eliminating the need to ‘try’ to use antibiotics where they potentially aren’t needed. The importance of preventing resistance to antibiotics cannot be overstated.

The future

The prime area for launch is the UK, but in the future the ultimate aim is to crack both the North American andEuropean markets. These markets themselves are regulated differently to the UK, and so a firm set of data, proper,passed and successful clinical trials are required to ensure a migration to another market in the medical space.

However, once these markets are in the fold, there is no market where this research and capability cannot have apositive impact. The potential is global.

The process

When it came to spinning out, Presymptom worked with Ploughshare to create what is now the norm for technologies looking to spin-out.

Presymptom’s experience with this was one was highly important. Working with Ploughshare to fundamentally change the spin-out model to enable further ownership for inventors was a priority here – and enabled Presymptom to have more control over their invention and process – leading to a far more comprehensive and lean approach to product development and regulatory environment navigation. It also leads to a far more generous template in terms of ownership of the company itself – far more generous than more university technology transfer offerings, for example.

The resulting Playbook is the tool for inventors to follow along with Ploughshare and their investors to bring a technology from research to a fully-fledged product within an independent company. This type of partnership allows people like Roman to focus on the technology, and Iain to focus on the bringing the business proposition to market –Ploughshare enables this. Presymptom has walked so that other spin-outs may run.

The people

Roman Lukaszewski’s personal background of family members who have been severely affected by sepsis gave him the impetus to really delve into infection and sepsis more specifically. Roman remains the Chief of Diagnostic Research at Dstl, and so whilst the business success of Presymptom is important, for him the importance of continued research into diagnostic tools for the medical community continues to be paramount.

Iain Miller’s experience in bringing MedTech innovations to market has helped propel Presymptom Health along the way to where it is today. With over 30 years of experience in the medical technology business space, Iain’s experience in bringing novel medical technologies to market has been invaluable and is second to none.

Finally, a team of 103 clinicians in eight hospitals in the UK and Germany, combined with funding by MOD, the HomeOffice, and also the US DOD have all contributed to the continuing success of Presymptom’s trials.

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