Founded in 2020, Galway-based Xtremedy is raising seed funding to start clinical trials for its novel medical device to treat diabetic foot infections.
Lyn Markey first met Camille O’Malley at the BioInnovate Ireland fellowship programme in 2018, as part of the orthopaedics team.
During this time, they saw a lot of joint replacement and trauma surgeries for broken bones and identified an urgent clinical need in the treatment of post-surgical infections.
“These patients were undergoing months of therapy, which was often ineffective at controlling the infection. The patients were visibly upset from the pain, immobility and social isolation caused by their condition,” said Markey, an entrepreneur and expert in medicinal chemistry.
“When we followed these patients to surgery and saw the rudimentary tools available to surgeons, we knew there had to be a better way to remove these infections and avoid all this suffering.”
This experience inspired Xtremedy Medical.
‘Turning the needle for patients’
Founded in 2020 and based in Galway, Xtremedy is a medtech start-up developing a medical device and platform technology to treat infection wounds using a method known as pulsed field ablation, or PFA.
This treatment option creates electric fields in the wound at the end of any surgery to kill residual bacteria and speed up the healing process. PFA is well known for its effective antimicrobial properties and has been used in food sterilisation for decades.
“We have spent the past three years translating this into a medical device and proving that our device is highly effective at killing bacteria and biofilms on tissues,” O’Malley explained.
She said that while the current standard of care, a pressurised saline flush, has “almost no effect” on reducing bacterial burden in mature infections, Xtremedy had a significant effect on its reduction which can “really turn the needle for patients” and improve healing outcomes.
“Additionally, the wider treatment area experiences electroporation or reversible pores in the cell membrane which can improve antibiotic uptake in the infection site.”
This means that Xtremedy’s technology is able to treat infected wounds by both reducing the bacterial burden – which stimulates wound healing – as well as improving antibiotic uptake.
A €1.2bn market opportunity
Initial market focus will be on diabetic foot infections resulting from ulcers, which leads to hundreds of thousands of patients every year across the US and Europe going through surgical procedures. Follow-up procedures often cause great discomfort and can even lead to amputations.
“There are no good treatment options for these patients and because of this, patients often end up with life-altering disabilities. Surgeons are keen to adopt new technologies to prevent these dire outcomes,” said Markey, adding that foot infections represent a €1.2bn market opportunity.
With a target to gain regulatory approval by 2028, Markey and O’Malley already have their eyes on follow-on markets including pressure, arterial and venous ulcers, trauma wounds resulting from burns, fractures and lacerations, and surgical site infections.
They estimate that the total market opportunity could be worth up to €5bn. It is no surprise, therefore, that Xtremedy has been receiving significant attention from both the industry and investors.
A winner of Enterprise Ireland’s Big Ideas 2021 showcase, Xtremedy has received significant Government funding through the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund.
And just last month, Xtremedy emerged victorious at the MedTech Innovator pitch event in Dublin, bagging a spot on the prestigious global accelerator.
The team’s impressive background is sure to boost investor confidence. Markey has a PhD in medicinal chemistry from Trinity College Dublin and an MBA from University College Dublin’s Smurfit Business School, which is also where O’Malley got her MSc in biotechnology and medtech entrepreneurship.
O’Malley was also featured by MIT on its list of global innovators under the age of 35 last year.
“We are well underway to raising a seed round to bring this technology through a first in-human study. We have a lead investor onboard and most of the round subscribed,” said Markey, who leads the company as CEO while O’Malley heads the technology side of things as CTO.
“We will travel to California next month to begin the MedTech Innovator programme and aim to close our round during this program.”
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