Qidni Labs, a Kitchener-based startup, is designing the smallest blood purification device to improve the lives of those suffering from kidney failure.
With this device, Morteza Ahmadi, CEO of Qidni Labs, says it will increase treatment times, which is linked with prolonged survival rates for patients waiting for a kidney transplant.
"Our vision at Qidni Labs is to surpass the current technology to become the new standard of treatment and help millions of patients on dialysis live a normal life." said Ahmadi.
Currently, Ahmadi says over two million people in the world struggle with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
Dialysis, or renal replacement therapy, is the most common treatment used for kidney failure, but Ahmadi says this is a restrictive procedure that can cost about $82,000 U.S. for one year of treatment.
Ahmadi says by taking a dialysis device and shrinking its size, it allows greater mobility for patients and costs 40 per cent less.
"We realized mobility is a key factor for those patients." said Ahmadi, "If they're travelling, if they're at work or they're mobile, they can do it (provide treatment) themselves... with wearable devices."
"On the flip side of the equation, the cost of dialysis is massive... Our hope is this (invention) will help to reduce the cost of dialysis as you don't need a physical clinic."
Ahmadi says his interest in kidney disease treatment developed while he was in grad school at the University of Waterloo.
He says a friend at McMaster University offered to show him a dialysis clinic in Hamilton.
"When I visited the clinic, it was very obvious that there was a need for new technologies for patients with kidney failure," said Ahmadi. "The technology was stagnant and it had been for a long time."
Since the launch of their first portable product, Qidni Labs has become a recognized member of the Communitech Hub and has received grants from multiple programs, including the Canadian Space Agency.
Recently, Ahmadi spoke about Qidni Labs and its products at the OBIO Niagara Investment Summit earlier in February.
"It provided the opportunity to interact with potential strategic partners from the industry." said Ahmadi about the summit.
OBIO is a non-for-profit that connects companies and investors within the biotech industry, positioning Canada as a leader in international markets. More information about OBIO can be found here.
With the summit ahead of National Kidney Month in March, Ahmadi says he hopes to see more funding and training given to scientists on how to treat the disease.
"There's still a lot of unknowns in new technology and understanding kidney failure. " said Ahmadi, "So the more funding that can be raised, the more research we can put into developing a new product that can help the future of this field."
For more information about Qidni Labs, go to qidni.com.