Healthcare Industry News:  dialysis 

Devices Licensing

 News Release - March 31, 2008

A Peritoneal-Based Wearable Artificial Kidney for Continuous Dialysis of Patients with End-Stage Renal Disease

Singapore, March 31, 2008--(HSMN NewsFeed)--University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has entered into a world-wide, exclusive licensing agreement with AWAK Technologies Pte Ltd for the development and commercialization of a peritoneal-based automated wearable artificial kidney (AWAK) for the treatment of patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

An important feature of AWAK is that it is peritoneal dialysis-based. Current work by others on wearable artificial kidneys evolve around the technology of hemodialysis or hemofiltration, which require continuous anticoagulation of the extracorporeal circulation and are encumbered with potential immunologic and non-immunologic complications of continuous blood-artificial membrane interactions. Continuous extracorporeal circulation also exposes patients to the constant risk of exsanguinations through accidental disruption of the blood circuit. Prior clinically evaluated hemofiltration-based wearable artificial kidneys have consistently failed because of clotting within a week, in spite of aggressive anticoagulation.

The peritoneal-based AWAK requires no extracorporeal circulation, and is therefore "bloodless". It is designed to continuously regenerate and reuse the spent peritoneal dialysate in perpetuity and is, therefore, also "waterless". A sorbent-based assembly regenerates both the aqueous and the protein components (AqC and PrC) of the spent peritoneal dialysate, and produces a novel, autologous protein-containing peritoneal dialysate.

The regenerated AqC has the same composition as the commercially available peritoneal dialysate, but contains bicarbonate instead of lactate and has a physiological pH. The regenerated PrC is recycled back into the peritoneal cavity, thereby ameliorating or eliminating protein-loss. The PrC has the additional potential of augmenting ultrafiltration (through its colloidal oncotic pressure) and increasing the removal of protein-bound toxins.

Currently, hemodialysis is the predominant form of treatment for patients with ESRD. Patients are treated three times weekly for four-hours each. This twelve-hour weekly treatment leaves a patient over-loaded with toxins and fluid for the remaining 156 hours (93%) of the week. AWAK, on the other hand, provides round-the-clock dialysis and fluid removal, thereby, maintaining a steady-state metabolic-biochemical and fluid balance and eliminating "shocks" of abrupt changes in these parameters that characterize the current dialytic modalities.

However, the most important feature of AWAK, as stressed by the inventors, is this dialysis-on-the-go, made possible by AWAK's "wearability" and automation, frees ESRD patients from the servitude that is demanded by the current dialytic regimentations. "We will revolutionalize the ESRD patient-care landscape! They will have continuous dialysis and need not make the thrice weekly trips to the dialysis centers," said Dr Gordon Ku, Chairman of AWAK Technologies. The annual expenditure in the treatment of ESRD patients is estimated at US$55 billion, of which US$10 billion is for equipment and supplies.

"In deciding to license our patent rights to AWAK Technologies, we were excited that this technology may have a significant impact on the standard of care for patients in this area with high unmet medical need", said Earl Weinstein, Assistant Director of UCLA's Office of Intellectual Property. "Such partnerships with private industry in order to advance the development of UCLA technologies to benefit both patients and the economy fit nicely within our office's mission."

About AWAK Technologies

AWAK Technologies Pte Ltd was incorporated in April 2007 with the mission of providing global leadership in automated wearable dialysis systems for continued optimization of the survival and quality of life of ESRD patients. It was founded by Dr Gordon Ku (Chairman of Kidney dialysis Foundation), Dr. David B. N. Lee and Dr. Martin Roberts (both of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System and David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA), and Mr. Neo Kok Beng. Dr David B. N. Lee and Dr Martin Roberts are also inventors of the licensed technologies and serve as Chief Scientists in the Company.

About University of California, Los Angeles

UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of nearly 37,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer more than 300 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Four alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.

Source: AWAK Technologies

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