Axithra
Universiteit Gent
imec

Axithra

HealthTech
HealthTech
HealthTech
HealthTech

Axithra is developing new technology for accurate drug concentrations in blood.

Saving patients’ lives and improving outcomes through rapid and actionable therapeutic drug monitoring at the point of need

For many drugs, the correct dosage is crucial to ensure the optimal effect. It is a constant focus in hospital units with seriously ill or debilitated patients, who often exhibit physiological changes over time, such as those in the intensive care or oncology unit. When administering insufficient doses, a drug loses effectiveness, while excessive doses may cause toxic, potentially fatal, side effects. Current therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) approaches suffer from a long turnaround time and require specialized personnel, limiting the ability for clinicians to timely adjust drug doses. For many situations, mass spectrometry is the go-to technology, but due to the high instrument investment and maintenance costs, its clinical use and impact on patient management are very limited. Furthermore, for many drugs, clinicians need to know the free, unbound fraction, which represents the drug’s activity. Current TDM solutions provide the total drug concentration, including the protein-bound inactive fraction, hence leading to inaccurate interpretations.

Axithra is developing a Raman-on-chip spectroscopy platform for TDM that is ideally suited to rapid quantification of drug levels in patients. Due to its inherent fingerprinting capabilities, there is no need for labels or detector molecules, enabling fast development cycles for (novel) drugs on this platform. While Raman is the ideal technology for TDM, clinical adoption suffered due to the weakness of the signal. However, Axithra’s implementation on chip substantially lowers the detection limit, addressing the clinical need for sensitivity and allowing usability in clinical practice. Axithra’s TDM solution will be an easy-to-use sample-in to results-out platform with a rapid turnaround that allows to directly quantify the free fraction of a drug. While substantially lowering the total cost of ownership, Axithra’s platform will provide actionable results so that clinicians can adjust drug doses in time, and since it’s not dependent on skilled laboratory personnel, these can be available 24/7.

Axithra is a spinoff of the Photonics Research Group, an associated imec lab at Ghent University headed by Prof Roel Baets. The concept grew out of the clinical need from Prof Jan De Waele from the Ghent University Hospital who was looking for a solution to better manage patients receiving beta-lactam antibiotics. Haolan Zhao (CSO) and Nuria Teigell Beneitez (System Architect) started working on this project as postdocs, mainly focusing on improving the detection limits of the technology. Later, Leander Van Neste (CEO) and Jonathan Salmon (CTO) joined the team, bringing industry-specific expertise in various fields to the team, with a focus on the current product development and clinical validation needs for the healthcare sector.

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The first couple of years will be focused on product development, turning the proof-of-concept intoa point-of-care medical device. Beta-lactam antibiotics TDM is the firstproduct in the pipeline, to which additional drug classes will be added in thefuture. The ultimate objective of Axithra is to be widely present in healthcarepractice, providing clinically actionable results tailored to the individual patient, ensuring drugeffectiveness and avoiding adverse drug reactions, leading to reducedmorbidity and mortality, and to advantageous health economics.

Cédric Van Nevel

Cédric Van Nevel

Partner Qbic II & III, Co-founder Qbic III

This company is aligned with the following SDGs

Good health and well-being
Good health and well-being
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