Our body has an amazing ability to heal itself, and when faced with a wound most of us take for granted that it will heal. However, millions worldwide suffer from chronic wounds, representing a significant burden to patients, healthcare professionals, as well as the healthcare system. In fact, it is estimated that chronic wounds cost over $20 billion in the US alone. The burden is growing rapidly due to an aging population and a sharp rise in the incidence of diabetes and obesity worldwide, and developing new treatments to fight chronic wounds is of high importance.
The Buffalo, New York-based startup Garwood Medical Devices is determined to provide more positive clinical outcomes for patients suffering from wounds. Their technology is based on electrical stimulation, an established and proven methodology to increase rate of healing. While current approaches require expensive, heavy equipment in a clinical setting, Garwood is developing a device called EnerAid, that embed electrodes into a bandage, which sends pulses into the skin with the goal of stimulating healing.
In their patent application, the startup describe an electrical, programmable bandage consisting of a pad disposed for absorbing bodily fluids, and at least two snap button electrodes. Pulsed electric currents are passed across the wound through the snap button electrodes via an RF transceiver, which can be provided with a mobile device. The transceiver offers continuous exchange of information between the bandage and the mobile device, allowing remote, wireless monitoring of the wound. This not only enable clinicians to monitor the treatment efficacy, but allow them to adjust the output electric pulses to personalize treatment and optimize wound healing.
Although there are a few existing techniques that use electrical stimulation to heal chronic wounds, they require expensive and heavy equipment in clinical settings that often limit compliance rates. Garwood is developing an innovative device that eliminate the problems associated with the devices currently in use, and the small and easy-to-use device could play a major role in the fight against chronic wounds. It help doctors monitor wound healing, personalize treatment, while potentially reducing cost of care. At the same time, it could increase access to care and improve compliance rates, potentially leading to better treatment efficacy, outcomes and improved quality of life for millions of patients around the world.
Garwood Medical Devices, formerly known as Enermed, was founded by Gregg Gellman and Wayne Bacon in 2014, and is part of the START-UP NY economic development program. They were also a semifinalist of the 2016 43North business-plan competition, and have received $1.48 million in support from the University at Buffalo’s Buffalo Institute for Genomics and Data Analytics (BIG). In 2016, the startup raised $3.6 million in a Series A funding round from private investors, and was in 2017 awarded $40,000 from the University at Buffalo’s New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics (CMI). In addition to the wound care device, the startup is also developing devices that target bone growth, and a device that can be applied to implants to recognize when infections are starting.