BioTraceIT eyes pain space with skin sensor technology
In a bid to seek out partners as it plans to take its pain diagnostic technology to the veterinary market, BioTraceIT recently presented at the VetHealth Global conference on Canada's Prince Edward Island. Animal Pharm analyst Sian Lazell spoke to the firm to find out how its PainTrace Vet technology works and its goals for the future.
"What do we like to say about ourselves? We'll get you back up and running by quantifying pain to lead the path to wellness. By this we mean, by quantifying pain we may improve our ability to evaluate illness and treat individuals, support innovation for new healthcare solutions, and optimize the individual return to health," said Deborah Dullen, president and chief executive of US firm BioTraceIT.
While digital technology utilizing sensors is becoming more prevalent in animal health, BioTraceIT is venturing into a space in the industry where these techniques are not so commonly seen.
The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based firm has developed PainTrace Vet, a diagnostic system designed to provide pain analysis in animals. Using non-invasive skin sensors, PainTrace Vet measures pain and produces a graph based on collected biosignals to analyze both the degree of pain and where it is located.
Ms Dullen explained: "We do this via real-time measurement of both acute and chronic pain. Our system has two major components – a device which is wearable technology that takes in a direct pain biosignal, using external non-invasive sensors that are wireless to provide remote monitoring.
"We also have software as part of that system that uses speech recognition, that documents and time stamps activity, observations, whatever is in your protocol.
"Additionally, we provide analytics that are cloud-based, which will take in demographics, medical history and any information that is important, link that and time stamp it to the biosignal, then create reports that make the data meaningful."
The three main benefits of PainTrace Vet are its ability to detect pain, quantify pain and track pain, making it suitable for use in both veterinary clinic and research settings. BioTraceIT believes the ability to detect pain is crucial for veterinarians, as many animals will often instinctively mask symptoms. In terms of quantifying pain, the company said understanding exactly what degree of pain a patient is in and where it is experiencing pain can aid a vet's diagnosis and treatment plan.
Evidence of accuracy
Ms Dullen showed Animal Pharm proof of the system's accuracy in doing this. The company has conducted multiple studies with near perfect ability to measure reporting p values of <0.001. One graph generated from the PainTrace system during a clinical examination of a dog, showed varying degrees of pain, or non-pain, that could be pinpointed to examination of each paw. Closer analysis could align spikes in pain even more precisely with effected digits – demonstrating excellent specificity to detect pain.
Ms Dullen explained BioTraceIT believes PainTrace Vet is accurate in its measurements following use of the system in humans, where participants could self-report pain as it was being measured, correlating it with the data generated.
"We can differentiate between a painful and non-painful state with p values of less than 0.001," she said.
BioTraceIT has its sights set on delivering its technology to a range of species but at present, the firm is mainly focused on dogs, cats and horses as its sees animal health as an immediate opportunity.
Ms Dullen added: "We are currently looking at vet health diagnostics. We provide pain measurement and early diagnostics tools. We are also pursuing clinical research services to provide a quantitative outcome for pain measurement."
She said the firm has a business model that involves both direct sales and software as a service, with a range of additional products that integrate with PainTrace Vet in the pipeline.
"We are currently involved in a number of academic trials and will be in market by the end of this year. We're focused on the veterinary diagnostic and clinical research markets, and about four quarters after that we expect to be in the human health market. The veterinary pain market will be a $7 billion market by 2020."