Kalium Health Ltd, which is working to help millions of people living with kidney disease and related conditions to manage their health at home, today announces it has been awarded funding by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
The funding, as part of the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Connect programme, is worth £150,000 and will support testing of key parts of Kalium Health’s system with volunteers in the UK.
Kalium Health is developing a digital sensing platform to measure critical blood electrolyte levels accurately, and at low cost. This will empower people with kidney, heart and certain rare conditions to monitor their health wherever they happen to be. It will also mean their healthcare provider can personalise their treatment to improve their health and keep them out of hospital.
The funding by NIHR will directly support activities in 2021 including testing of the company’s blood sample measurement methods with volunteers and formative user research with individual patients.
Kidney disease is increasingly recognised as a global health challenge. This is due to its association with diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which are both on the rise, and to the disproportionately high cost of treatment. Professor Fiona Karet, co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Kalium Health, explains the motivation behind the company: “Patients in my clinic who suffer ill health due to electrolyte imbalances were asking me why it was not possible for them to manage their condition better themselves. I realised that a clinically accurate self-test for blood potassium concentration would be a game-changer for them and for over-burdened healthcare providers”.
Tom Collings, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, said “We very much welcome the enthusiasm of the NIHR team in helping us to conduct this important research work. Thanks to their support we are able to engage directly with patients and the public in our home market to ensure that our innovation will meet their needs and, hopefully, surpass their expectations. The ongoing pandemic is accelerating the move of testing and treatment away from clinical settings and into the home and we are ideally placed to support this transition.”
At Kalium Health we are working to help millions of people living with kidney or heart disease to manage their health at home.
These patients are in danger of illness or sudden death if certain blood electrolyte levels, particularly potassium, go too high or too low. Currently the only way to manage this risk is via hospital-based tests from a venous blood sample, which is inconvenient and leads to high costs and delays in treatment.
Our innovation will enable widespread monitoring, empowering patients to monitor their own health and enabling their healthcare provider to personalise their treatment to improve their health and keep them out of hospital.
We are developing rapid blood tests which provide clinically accurate monitoring of blood potassium level and will be suitable for use by anyone, anywhere. Our technology consists of a pocket-sized test device integrated into an online digital data platform.
Kalium Health spun out of the University of Cambridge in 2020 with backing from Cambridge Enterprise, Martlet Capital, Cambridge Angels and Kidney Research UK, the largest kidney research charity in the country. Our management team brings together decades of clinical, technical and product development expertise and a shared passion to improve lives.
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation's largest funder of health and care research. The NIHR:
Funds, supports and delivers high quality research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care
Engages and involves patients, carers and the public in order to improve the reach, quality and impact of research
Attracts, trains and supports the best researchers to tackle the complex health and care challenges of the future
Invests in world-class infrastructure and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services
Partners with other public funders, charities and industry to maximise the value of research to patients and the economy
Funds applied global health research and training to meet the needs of the poorest people in low and middle-income countries
The NIHR was established in 2006 to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research and is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. In addition to its national role, the NIHR supports applied health research for the direct and primary benefit of people in low- and middle-income countries, using UK aid from the UK government.