Eccrine Systems, Inc., announces it has raised $1.5MM in seed funding in a round led by CincyTech Fund III, with participation from management and other sources within the CincyTech investor community. Formed in late 2013, the advanced sweat sensor company is developing disposable electronic patch systems based on innovative research and intellectual property that originated from the University of Cincinnati and Air Force Research Labs at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
According to Dr. Jason Heikenfeld, lead UC researcher and co-founder of the company, sweat secreted from eccrine glands in human skin holds great promise as the best non-invasive bodily fluid for the real-time capture and transmission of robust biomarker data. “Although the analysis of sweat goes back to the 1950’s, it never gained significant momentum as a non-invasive alternative to blood due to the limitations of fluid collection. One might as well draw a blood sample rather than scoop sweat off the skin repeatedly to get enough of a sample before sending to a lab for testing.” Fast forward to the current era of microfluidics, nanotechnology, miniaturized electronics, continuous connectivity and cloud-based computing. Heikenfeld continues, “The convergence of these and other technologies will launch sweat into full prominence as the best non-invasive fluid source for secure, real-time monitoring of human physiological function or dysfunction. We foresee many high value applications for our Sweatronics™ platform across medicine, industry and sport.”
Robert Beech, Eccrine’s executive chairman and co-founder, echoes Heikenfeld’s outlook and provides further insight about the strategic positioning of the company, “We recognize there are many well-known companies vying for the attention of broad consumer markets for wearable devices, which often intersect with fashion trends and personal image choices. In direct contrast, our efforts are aimed at specialized and regulated medical and business markets that expect proof of data accuracy and chronological assurance, plus credible scientific studies related to physiological and economic outcomes. Furthermore, our low profile electronic patches are being designed for placement on discreet skin locations that do not interfere with work, play, sleep, or personal image preferences.”
The company is deploying a platform business model that seeks exclusive relationships with downstream partners across multiple market segments. Explains Beech, “There are very large opportunities in areas such as medication adherence, clinical trials management, industrial safety, medical diagnostics, treatment effectiveness, nutrition support, and elite performance optimization. The secure, real-time monitoring of sweat biomarkers in these segments offers the potential for valuable breakthroughs in improved safety, effectiveness, and economic outcomes. We bring to each partnership our pioneering IP portfolio, modular Sweatronics platform, and innovative prototyping capabilities. In turn, our market-savvy partners collaborate closely with us to develop and embed Sweatronics patch systems within their respective product offerings.”
“The implications for real-time trending and interpretation of sweat biomarkers, derived from very tiny amounts of sweat captured under a small electronic patch, are profound,” states Mike Venerable, Managing Director at CincyTech. “The Eccrine team is very focused on enabling this important technology opportunity and its positive impact on many aspects of life.”