Korea to support commercialization of 10 innovative medical technologies

2023.05.26 12:39:02 | 2023.05.26 13:52:07

EOFlow Co.’s insulin pump patch [Photo provided by EOFlow]이미지 확대

EOFlow Co.’s insulin pump patch [Photo provided by EOFlow]

The Korea Medical Device Development Fund on Thursday selected 10 innovative medical technologies that will be supported for commercialization, including a wearable insulin pump patch, an imaging device for diagnosing peripheral microvascular disease without the use of a contrast agent, and an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).

The insulin pump patch being developed by is a wearable device designed to be attached to the abdomen or arm of diabetes patients. The patch, which is connected to a smartphone, measures blood glucose levels every five minutes and automatically gives the appropriate amount of insulin to the body through micro-needles on the patch.

Each patch can be used for up to 84 hours and is water-resistant and suitable for physical activities. When removed, the needles automatically retract to prevent contamination.

EOFlow plans to complete development by the end of this year amid growing global demand for automated insulin delivery products.

Another technology in development by an industrial cooperation group under Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) is an imaging device for peripheral microvascular diseases, which is the world’s first product capable of diagnosing these conditions without the use of contrast agents or radiation.

Until now, the examination of tiny blood vessels in the fingers or toes requires the use of contrast agents and radiographic equipment. However, many individuals are concerned about the burden on the kidneys from contrast agents and the potential risks of radiation exposure.

The new device, based on ultrasound technology, enables the diagnosis of microvascular diseases, including those with vessel diameters of less than 1 millimeter, allowing for easier early detection. The development is expected to be completed by the end of next year.

Samsung Medical Center, in collaboration with Kangwon National University, INSUNG Medical Co., and Cell & Growth Factor Biotechnology, plans to finalize the development of a portable ECMO device by the end of 2025. The device aims to be used not only in ambulances but also in small-scale medical facilities.

ECMO is a life-supporting device used for patients with severe respiratory or acute cardiac conditions. Korean healthcare professionals effectively utilize ECMO in comparison with their counterparts in the U.S. or Germany but Korean companies have yet to commercialize ECMO devices.

The Korea Medical Device Development Fund was established in 2020 by four ministries - the Ministry of Science and ICT, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

It was created to provide integrated support for the entire cycle of medical device development, from clinical trials to regulatory approval and product commercialization.

The first phase of the fund’s project to support innovative medical devices will last until 2025, with a total investment of 1.2 trillion won ($905 million). The fund aims to identify ten key projects among them to foster future growth in the medical industry.

According to the fund’s report on Thursday, over the course of three years since its establishment, a total of 328 prototypes were made, and 335 clinical trials were conducted. Among them, 120 technologies or products obtained actual regulatory approval.

By Yoo Joo-yeon and Minu Kim

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