South Korean startup, HME Square, aims to revolutionize glucose monitoring through the use of photoacoustics, providing a painless alternative to the traditional method of pricking the skin.
HME Square, founded in 2020 by Yoonho Khang and medical doctor Sooah Im, seeks to address the common health issue faced by over half a billion people worldwide – diabetes. The company’s goal is to develop a needle-free glucose monitor that offers accurate and noninvasive testing options.
HME Square is developing a needle-free glucose monitoring device that utilizes photoacoustics, providing a painless alternative to traditional methods. Preliminary studies show promising results, with accuracy surpassing current CGM devices on the market. With applications beyond glucose monitoring, HME Square’s technology shows potential for various biological substance measurements. The company plans to bring its device to the market by 2025.
In a preliminary study, HME Square demonstrated promising results, surpassing the accuracy of current continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices available on the market. With a mean absolute relative difference (MARD) of 7%, HME Square’s device outperforms leading CGM devices such as those from Abbott, Dexcom, and Medtronic, which typically show a range between 8.7% and 9.2%.
The technology behind HME Square’s device utilizes a microelectromechanical system (MEMS) sensor and photoacoustics, combined with deep learning algorithms, to measure blood sugar levels. Photoacoustics is a noninvasive sensing technique that involves shining light on a substance, in this case, blood, and reading the ultrasonic waves it emits.
While HME Square’s device is currently in the research and development stage, the company plans to introduce good manufacturing practices (GMP) in South Korea next year. Following GMP approval, clinical trials will be conducted, taking approximately a year. The company aims to bring its device to market in South Korea and the U.S. by 2025.
CEO Yoonho Khang acknowledges the challenges associated with noninvasive glucose monitoring, specifically in obtaining accurate outcomes and data. However, he asserts that their photoacoustic method offers superior results due to the detailed information contained within the glucose-absorbed energy. There is still ongoing debate in the scientific community about the best noninvasive glucose monitoring techniques, with optical methods such as near-infrared, mid-infrared, or Raman spectroscopy being considered highly selective for glucose sensing.
HME Square plans to utilize a direct-to-consumer business model, targeting individuals with diabetes as well as those who currently rely on invasive measures like CGM. The company is also considering subscription models once commercialized, with the anticipated cost of the device being around $1,000 for two years of use.
Since its establishment, HME Square has raised over $3 million from investors, including Postech Holdings. The company is currently seeking an additional $2 million funding for ongoing research and development efforts, as well as expanding its team.