A New Kind of Home Dialysis

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Simergent announced plans to use a new round of seed money, $2.835 million, to further development of a cheaper, quieter home dialysis machine. The company, with offices in Oklahoma City and Chicago, said in a media release that its Archimedes dialysis system “aims to reduce healthcare expenditures, improve patient health, and make it easier for patients to perform dialysis at home.”

The majority of funding for this innovation comes from the Oklahoma-based company i2E. The funding will support Simergent as it continues to design the system, manufacture the device, and perform regulatory testing needed for FDA approval.

Website ChicagoInno.com interviewed co-founder and CEO Steve Lindo and learned that the company will be selling the product directly to dialysis clinics and providers. In this way, the cost would “be paid for using Medicare budgets allocated to dialysis providers,” Lindo said. The federal healthcare program would be able to save money on dialysis by shifting more patients to the home setting, Lindo noted.

While patients would still interface with the machines at night through implanted catheters, the device features a way to prevent peritonitis (inflamed abdominal tissue). The machine would be quieter compared with current home dialysis machines, which can disrupt sleep, the company notes.

Simergent has its eye on foreign sales, too, in countries such as Mexico, China, and India, that would be attracted to a lower-cost option. In a 2015 Lancet article, investigators noted that at least 23 million people may have died prematurely from kidney failure because they could not access life-saving treatment. Most deaths occurred in China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Nigeria.

Nephrologists may welcome such a new device, as well as other innovations in dialysis. A recent survey of 202 nephrologists by Spherix Global Insights showed that 41% of nephrologists agreed that “There is less opportunity for innovation in my specialty compared to other specialties.” Overall, 48% of nephrologists responded that more innovation exists within the non-dialysis setting than in the dialysis setting. Nephrologists’ highest priority was for new agents that could slow the progression of CKD, the survey found.