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Success Story:

Pan-European project aims for worldwide sales

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The increase in diabetic kidney disease globally is placing pressure on hospitals to treat patients under dialysis more efficiently and cost-effectively. A Swedish SME says it is working on a solution which could transform the entire process.

With €577,500 in funding, medical equipment specialist Nordic Medcom has been working with RTD performers from five European countries to develop a new technology which could not only help kidney patients receive dialysis treatment more safely and effectively than is currently possible, it also has the potential to cut medical costs and reduce treatment time worldwide.

Over the past two years, the Swedish SME has been coordinating its project with eight partners in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands and Italy to develop a completely new generation of robust, yet low-cost fistula catheter. Because of the way it is being designed, the device will keep the fistula working for longer than it would otherwise do during the dialysis process, and lower the risk of potential infection.

Currently about to enter clinical trials, the device is destined to make a huge impact on the care kidney patients receive in hospitals as it shortens dialysis time. Dialysis patients face spending a lifetime in hospital - 12 hours each week. The average cost of supporting a dialysis patient is estimated to be around €60,000 per year. Fistula costs alone can be as much as €16,000 per patient, per year.

The worldwide market for such technologies is estimated to be worth €580 million: "Even if our development takes a small slice of that, it will provide a great boost to our partners who will be manufacturing it in Sweden and Italy and selling it throughout Europe, the US and Japan, one of the largest markets for dialysis technology," says Arne Puhasmägi, project coordinator and Nordic Medcom's Managing Director.

"During the early research stages it was important that our RTD performers were near to us in western Sweden. Quick and direct access to their expertise helped us move to develop and patent the device quicker than would have been possible otherwise," adds Puhasmägi. "Working with partners from the south, middle and north of Europe also helped us to understand the different treatment cultures and find out whether our device would actually work in practice."