Improving dialysis treatment through enhanced vascular access grafts.

Introduction

ESP Technology Ltd. is a developer of materials and technologies to improve the treatment and care of patients with kidney failure. The company has developed a unique material and processing technology that can be used by developers of vascular access grafts to enhance their products, increasing their durability and allowing them to be used earlier, as well as reducing patient treatment time.

ESP’s patent-protected technology utilises the unique properties of perfluoroelastomer (PFE) to help address challenges created by the global growth of patients requiring dialysis due to diabetes, obesity and an ageing population. For the company’s first application, any existing ePTFE graft can be coated with ESP’s unique material to enhance the performance of the graft.

Graft Example

The benefits of ESP

Transforming the vascular access graft market with PFE.

A vascular access graft joins an artery to a vein in the arm and is typically a flexible tube of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE). The patient is connected to a dialysis machine by inserting two large bore hypodermic needles through the skin and sub-dermal tissues and through the wall of the VAG into the blood stream.

Earlier use

Vascular access grafts currently have to be left to mature, delaying the time until first dialysis by at least six weeks, requiring that other, higher-risk forms of access are used in the interim. ESP’s self-sealing material closes up around the puncture site instantly, meaning that grafts can be used immediately.

Longer life

Puncturing vascular access grafts with needles causes large physical defects. Patients typically require more than 300 punctures per year, resulting in a lifetime of 2-3 years for a typical graft. Due to its self-sealing properties, ESP’s material will extend the lifetime of ePTFE grafts.

Reduced treatment time

Excessive or prolonged bleeding at puncturing sites in vascular access grafts is a common and sometimes serious complication, and typically requires 10-15 minutes compression after needling to allow bleeding to stop. ESP’s self-sealing material greatly reduces the need for compression of the needle sites and halts bleeding in just two minutes.

Why perfluoroelastomer?

Perfluoroelastomer (PFE) is the most inert elastomeric polymer known to science and is closely related to polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), often known as Teflon, a compound commonly used to manufacture vascular access grafts. ESP has developed a patented material and processing technology that extends its use into medical applications, beginning with the vascular access graft market.

Vascular access grafts: Development strategy

The first product to be developed by ESP Technology will be a coating for existing vascular grafts. ESP has undertaken an in-vivo study to validate the principal product claims. Subsequent products, including a vascular graft made entirely of microporous PFE, and a PFE graft impregnated with an antimicrobial agent, are planned. This pipeline will enable ESP to offer a range of solutions to surgeons and health care providers, enabling improved patient care and significantly reduce costs to health services.

Additional markets:
Hernia repair

The microcellular nature of ESP’s material gives it a potential for a wide range of other medical applications, including the market for the management of hernia repairs. This concerns the repair of a protrusion of an organ, or the muscular wall of an organ, through the cavity that normally contains it.

Additional markets:
Non-medical

Early data suggests that microporous PFE will have industrial applications outside of the medical field, such as fuel cell technologies and printed electronics.

In fuel cell technology, the benefits arise from the chemical inertness of the polymer, reducing degradation and extending fuel cell life. ESP also intends to develop its technology to create chemically resistant graphene tracks and surfaces for applications including super capacitors, electrodes and Lithium-based batteries.

Investor Information

Route to market

ESP is mastering the manufacturing process and finding new and creative ways to increase the potential of PFE materials. Rather than compete with established companies, instead we are looking to create ongoing strategic partnerships that offer a simple route to market.

By improving a commercial partner’s existing products, ESP can achieve a quick route to market with a lower regulatory burden.

Intellectual property

A UK patent application has been filed that details the unique processing methods that ESP has developed in relation to generic PFE materials. International patent applications will be filed in due course.

Management Team

Ian Mawhinney

Chief Executive Officer

Ian Mawhinney has over 25 year’s experience in the successful commercialization of new technologies in a wide variety of healthcare sectors. Ian has driven numerous complex medical devices through the regulatory approvals processes to market introduction and profitability through direct sales and partnering agreements. Ian brings a wealth of global experience, having established Smiths Medical’s business in Asia Pacific and China, Cambridge Consultants’ US Medical Technology business and Plasma Surgical’s Sales & Marketing Organization on a global basis. Ian is a driven project manager, with a deep understanding of technology who has consistently delivered growth through development and execution of strategic plans.

Chris Underwood

Technical Director

Dr Chris Underwood is the founder of ESP and is a Chartered Physicist with over 30 years experience in both industry and academia working with biomaterials/vascular implants. He has been a Director of three previous companies founded upon his scientific research. Chris is a named inventor in over 30 granted patents and patent applications and has previously designed and managed a multi-centre clinical trial for Vascular Access Grafts.

Alan Edwards

Chairman

Alan Edwards has an extensive background in the medical device industry. He has specialised in developing and growing early stage development companies for the last 10 years. Alan is the Chairman of ASep Healthcare, a profitable Imperial College spin-out, Chairman of Dialog Devices, Newtec Vascular Products and a Non-Executive Director at Credent Ltd.

Bob Stevens

Chief Technical Officer

Professor Bob Stevens has a Chair in Smart Materials and Devices at Nottingham Trent University and is an ex- Principal Scientist at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Lab. Bob has Micro & Nano technology expertise, combined with process development expertise.