ClearSky Medical Diagnostics Tackling Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition caused by a lack of a chemical called dopamine produced by nerve cells in the brain.  No one knows why some people suffer from Parkinson’s disease and currently there is no cure. Without dopamine people find that their movements become slower so it takes longer to do things. Parkinson's doesn't directly kill people but the symptoms do get progressively worse over time.

Two people out of every 1,000 will suffer from Parkinson's which equates to about 127,000 people in the UK and over 4 million people globally.  The majority of people who get Parkinson's are over 50 but younger people can get it too.  Cost of treatment in UK each year was estimated to be £1.5 billion in 2013 and over $25 billion in USA.  As the disease progresses the likelihood of emergency admission becomes greater.

The most common drug used to control the disease is levodopa which is turned in to dopamine in the body.   The ongoing management of Parkinson’s can be very challenging in part due the fact that after 10 years of treatment over 90% of patients suffer from levadopa induced dyskinesia (LID), an unpleasant side effect that results in involuntary movements called dyskinesia.  

A number of clinical experts have said that the development of an accurate and reliable scale for assessment of LID represents one of the most challenging issues in the study of this condition.

Dr Stephen Smith is Co-Founder and Director of ClearSky Medical Diagnostics Ltd, Stephen is a well published academic researcher in the department of electronics at University of York. Stephen and colleagues from the University and Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust have come up with a non invasive device for continuous home monitoring of levadopa induced dyskinesia (LID).  

The core technology is based on unique biologically-inspired computer algorithms developed at the University of York in close collaboration with leading medical centres world-wide. The result is a portfolio of non-invasive devices that provide a safe, quick and objective assessment of patients’ symptoms for a range of neurological conditions including Parkinson’s.

The system simply requires the patient to wear six small wireless sensors, one on each arm, leg, head and trunk that continually monitor the patient’s movements over periods of up to 24 hours. Movements associated with dyskinesia and the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are recognised by the system and transmitted electronically to the Specialist in an easy to interpret graphical format.

Medipex were approached by Stephen to help with the market access strategy in order to decide how best to approach the NHS. Medipex looked at the market and reviewed the health economic model and spoke to a number of potential customers including Parkinson nurses, patients and CCGs in order to help the company better understand how to position itself in the market.  Introductions were also made to several private sector funders to look at injecting sufficient funds to help launch the product.

Dr Stephen Smith says: "As an early-stage university spin out company, we were in need of an independent and reliable evaluation of our products, market, opportunities and threats.  Medipex undertook this review for us with the utmost professionalism, ensuring that all sources were validated and backed-up by one-to-one interviews with KOLs, including health professionals, NHS trust managers and patients.  The resulting report was comprehensive, clear and instructive, providing us with a clear route forward with which to develop the business."
The last few months have seen much interest in ClearSky Medical Diagnostics' products. The launch of LID-Monitor and PD-Monitor is imminent and has already attracted commitments to purchase from hospitals in the UK and China.  With other products in the portfolio under development, we are excited with the prospect of bringing this technology to the benefit of patients with Parkinson's and related neurodegenerative diseases.


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