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Medical innovation from the north

Flosonics Medical receives $200,000 from FedNor to develop wireless ultrasound patch
From left, Andrew Eibl, co-founder of Flosonics Medical, Paul Lefebvre, Liberal MP for Sudbury, and Dr. Joseph Eibl, co-founder of Flosonics Medical, pose with their award from Merck's Displaying Futures Awards. The Sudbury company received funding from FedNor for their company, which is working to develop the FloPatch, an ultrasound patch to allow medical staff to receive real-time data from patients without needing expensive equipment or training.

A casual conversation years ago over problems with an ultrasound machine has resulted in a Sudbury company developing a new tool to help hospitals deliver life-saving services more efficiently.

Flosonics Medical opened its doors Nov. 10 to celebrate their progress on the FloPatch, and funding from FedNor and several competitions to get their new product to the prototype phase.

The invention, explained Flosonics Medical co-founder Andrew Eibl, was inspired back in university, when his brother, and Flosonics co-founder, Dr. Joseph Eibl, had a college roommate who is an intensive care physician.

The physician told him that it was very difficult to use ultrasound machines to monitor fluid responsiveness in critically ill patients at his daily practice.

It often required two people: one to aim the ultrasound wand on the throat to get an accurate reading of fluid flowing through the arteries, and another to lift the patient's lower legs to ensure fluid was reaching the upper body and arteries.

“He came to us and said, 'I have this very problem every day, and it's a very important clinical decision, but I don't have an easy way of getting this information,'” he said.

“With us working with him, we set out to solve his pain point (specific problem a business works on to find a solution).”

The solution was creating a wireless patch that sticks to the patient's neck, giving real-time data and accurate readings without expensive equipment or much training. This new patch would allow only one person to be with a patient as well, saving time and money, potentially millions, Andrew said.

Nickel Belt Liberal MP Marc Serré announced the project has received $200,000 from FedNor's Northern Ontario Development Program, which he explained helps develop business growth and facilitate innovation.

This past June they were selected out of 150 companies tor Merck's Displaying Futures Awards, an international competition in Darmstadt, Germany. The prize includes a partnership with Merck and cash to help with developing the product.

In October, they won the Interface Health Challenge in Vancouver.

Andrew said out of 200 companies, they were recognized for having the greatest impact on health challenges.

The next step, he said, is to continue working on creating a prototype. Flosonics is gathering more clinical data, validating its findings, and putting the patch through trials, which all needs to be done before the company can bring the product to market.

He did not say if there was a set schedule.