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A new dimension in understanding your body

Dynamic Therapeutics has time on its side

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Today we’re in the world of medical tech, to find out how university spinout Dynamic Therapeutics wants to transform the way we understand what’s happening insider our bodies.

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Dynamic Therapeutics takes a deeper look at what's happening in your body

Dynamic Therapeutics’ U-RHYTHM device

In summary:

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Measurements of the hormones and other biochemicals in your body over a period of time can help detect specific conditions, or identify the times of day the body can most benefit from a specific treatment.

This kind of monitoring is usually done with blood tests, which give you a single snapshot of the situation. To monitor someone over time, you’d need to give them multiple blood tests over a period of hours or days. That’s not exactly efficient for the healthcare provider or convenient for the patient.

University of Bristol spinout Dynamic Therapeutics has developed a product called U-RHYTHM, which could help. This wearable device can collect 72 samples every 24 hours from the interstitial fluid that surrounds cells under the skin.

“For a researcher or a clinician, it’s like being able to take a movie of the condition rather than a snapshot,” says CEO Alex Caccia.

The device attaches to a belt worn by the patient. It connects to a catheter that is inserted into the patient’s skin. Initially, the startup is focusing on measuring a number of hormones including cortisol, cortisone, and melatonin.

The story so far

The U-RHYTHM has its roots in the work of Professor Stafford Lightman at Bristol. He had been experimenting with different ways for measuring hormone fluctuations over time in practical and convenient ways.

It was originally intended as a research device, but Lightman and his team realised there was real commercial potential here too. And so Dynamic Therapeutics was spun out of Bristol in summer 2023 with seasoned deep tech entrepreneur Caccia at the helm.

But Caccia had links with the product for longer than that. 

He says he had previously been involved with the design of a small motor for an unmanned aerial vehicle, which ended up not being fit for purpose. However, reconfigured to work as a pump, it had potential for a medical device.

After Caccia realised the medical community had an unmet need to easily measure hormones over time, he spent time figuring out how to commercialise Lightman’s research.

Now on its fourth product development iteration, the current version of U-RHYTHM is slated to enter manufacturing around August or September this year.

The manufacturing process will be further refined over time to make production more scalable, in line with the startup’s plans to ramp up sales in a couple of years’ time.

L-R: Professor Stafford Lightman (CSO), Alex Caccia (CEO), Dr. Georgina Hazell (COO)

What is the market here?

Caccia says the initial units will be sold to specialist clinics and researchers as the startup goes through certification to open up a wider market.

There are a number of use cases the startup is focusing on initially. 

The first is a pair of conditions related to hormone levels, Cushing’s syndrome and Addison’s disease. Caccia says, for example, that the time to detect Cushing’s disease can be reduced from as long as 10 years down to one sample run with U-RHYTHM.

Meanwhile, the startup is working with researchers to explore other use cases. Caccia says these include better understanding of sleep conditions. 

And he says because taking blood from newborn babies can be difficult as they have so little of it in their bodies, U-RHYTHM has been tested as an alternative because it doesn’t take blood.

Inside the U-RHYTHM

They’re also exploring use cases in detecting type 1 diabetes

“It's very difficult to detect type 1 diabetes early, but there are some interesting new therapeutics coming onto the market that can help arrest its development. 

“We're hoping to collaborate with some of the pharma companies that are introducing these therapeutics onto the market to provide a companion diagnostic that can help do that,” says Caccia.

And finally, they’re looking at hypertension, specifically caused by primary hyperaldosteronism, where there is an irregularity in the production of a hormone called aldosterone. 

“If you've got somebody, particularly a younger person, coming in with high blood pressure, you really want to eliminate that test before you put them on a lifetime of medication. So we're working with a bunch of researchers and clinicians to do that,” says Caccia.

But he adds that this is just the start and there are many more conditions they’d like to explore. 

But across the healthcare world, research and clinical processes and workflows are typically set up for ‘snapshots’ of data in the form of single tests at one point in time. Caccia admits it will take time to figure out with end users where the device can best be deployed.

And there’s more!

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