[Company Profile] Echo Therapeutics

echotherapeutics-smallBlood glucose control is a crucial part of managing diabetes, allowing patients to properly time their insulin injections. The long-term consequences of inadequate glucose control can be severe: adult blindness, amputations, kidney failure, and nerve damage. Regularly monitoring the body’s glucose levels can significantly decrease the likelihood of a patient developing these complications. Unfortunately, the standard testing method, which entails stabbing one’s finger with a lancet every few hours, doesn’t exactly entice patients to comply. 

The industry is now moving toward developing needle-free transdermal continuous glucose monitoring (tCGM) systems that increase patient compliance and allow patients to better monitor their diabetes—an innovation that Dr. Patrick Mooney, CEO of Echo Therapeutics (ECTE), calls the “Holy Grail” of diabetes management. Echo Therapeutics of Franklin, Mass., has developed the Symphony tCGM System, a needle-free, wireless system that allows patients to painlessly and accurately monitor their blood glucose levels around the clock. The Symphony System incorporates a patented feedback mechanism for optimal skin permeation control and a non-invasive, continuous transdermal glucose biosensor. The skin permeation device, called Prelude, removes the outermost layer of skin painlessly in approximately three to five seconds, allowing the biosensor to read glucose levels through the remaining layers of skin.

Prelude can also be used for transdermal drug delivery. Last month, Echo signed a license agreement with Ferndale Pharma Group that allows Ferndale to distribute the Prelude Skin Prep System for needle-free preparation of the skin prior to the application of topical 4% lidocaine cream for patients undergoing medical procedures. Prelude can deliver lidocaine in approximately 2 minutes, compared to 30 minutes for Ferndale’s method.

Echo recently announced its second deal in less than three weeks. The company has signed a license agreement with Handok Pharmaceuticals, the largest diabetes care-focused pharmaceutical company in South Korea. Both companies believe that the agreement will allow for significant opportunities in South Korea’s rapidly expanding glucose-monitoring market.

Echo believes that it will gain its first FDA approval next year in the hospital critical care market, which will allow the company to be “first-to-market” in hospitals with a needle-free continuous glucose monitor. 

Dr. Mooney is optimistic about the future of Echo Therapeutics and the Symphony System, which has undergone six positive clinical trials. He believes that the recent agreements validate what Echo is doing in the way of transdermal drug delivery and glucose measurement. “There is clear traction with the technology,” Mooney says.

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