Alimetry is an Auckland-based medical technology and digital start-up that manufactures wearable devices designed to improve the diagnosis of digestive diseases. Its breakthrough Gastric Alimetry™ clinical solution non-invasively senses the motility of the stomach to detect the underlying mechanisms of gastric symptoms – thus informing personalised therapy. Worn in the comfort of the clinic, based on award-winning scientific innovation, it delivers new validated biomarkers of gastric function.
The company is one of five exciting and ambitious start-ups being mentored by CC as part of the MedTech Innovator Asia Pacific program. I had the pleasure of getting to know more about not just the technology, but also the motivation behind the inception of Alimetry. CEO and co-founder Greg O'Grady is a distinguished New Zealand surgeon who was inspired to act after years of witnessing colleagues and patients suffer through the frustration of unexplained gut symptoms.
Rising to the challenge of gastric investigation
There are some of the most common symptoms in the world, yet the disorders of the stomach underlying them have remained among the most impenetrable areas for medical diagnostics and therapy. Just like the heart, the stomach is controlled by an electrical conduction system that drives contractions. Abnormal electrical and mechanical patterns frequently lead to symptoms – but sensing these abnormal patterns is very difficult.
The signals are a hundred times weaker than the heart, and investigators have failed to achieve clinically useful solutions over the years. Alimetry has risen to the challenge by integrating cutting-edge technologies such as stretchable electronics, wearables, digital apps, cloud-based reporting, big-data analytics and AI.
What will the benefits be?
The absence of reliable methods to diagnose gastric disorders has been a critical gap in medical care. Patients can enter a diagnostic treadmill of undetermined tests, often invasive, expensive, and/or involving radiation, over months or years, only to end up with no clear answers.
Alimetry promises to solve this issue by providing the first reliable direct data on determining the origin of the symptoms, enabling personalised treatments. Patients will benefit through faster diagnosis, more accurate and timely therapy and an improved quality of life. Doctors will benefit through more clear diagnosis and treatment algorithms. Healthcare providers and payers will benefit through improved efficiency and reduced costs of testing.
The company is putting its focus on proving out clinical utility. Changing medical practices requires extraordinary evidence, rightly so, because the stakes are high. Alimetry is overcoming this challenge by providing robust evidence, including regular publications in leading medical journals.
The CC team has been sharing insights into the highly complex world of medical devices, including market entry strategy. We also expect to offer guidance around the correct regulatory and conceptual foundations for AI in healthcare.