On Tuesday, October 31, 2023, at the International Clinical Research Center within the Faculty Hospital St. Anne, the signing of a licensing agreement for the successful patent of a new technology for EKG devices took place. Through this step, the patent is transferred to the startup company VDI Technologies, s.r.o., which will advance the device for clinical use and subsequently bring it to the market. This move opens up new possibilities for physicians in the field of improved and more accurate diagnosis of heart diseases.
The new technology for devices commonly known by the acronym EKG has been developed for over ten years by a team of scientists from the International Clinical Research Center (ICRC) at St. Anne’s University Hospital, the 3rd Faculty of Medicine at Charles University, the Institute of Instrumentation of the Czech Academy of Sciences, and the company Cardion s.r.o. Representatives of these institutions signed a licensing agreement with the startup company VDI Technologies s.r.o. at the end of October for their high-frequency electrocardiogram (UHF-ECG) patent. With this, the startup gains rights to the new patent and can introduce the technology to the market. Currently, the company is taking steps towards the certification process, which is expected to obtain key approvals in the United States in 2024.
“This is a significant success, and I am pleased that, with the collaboration of so many institutions, we managed to sign a licensing agreement. The technology can now move closer to common use, with a significant contribution from the group around Associate Professor Čuril from the 3rd Faculty of Medicine at Charles University,” says Kateřina Šolcová, Business and Technology Director of Charles University Innovations Prague a.s.
The examination with the new technology is non-invasive for patients, as the method utilizes standard EKG electrodes and their regular clinical placement on the chest. The core of the technology lies in a new and compact evaluation unit developed jointly by all institutions. It provides physicians with unique information about the electrical activation of the heart chambers, which can help optimize surgical procedures and the setting of pacemakers in clinical practice. Even for patients with already implanted pacemakers, potential optimization means more efficient and gentler functioning towards the organism, allowing them to remain physically active for a longer time. In addition to improving the health of patients, the technology also simplifies the work for doctors. Results are available within minutes, and the electrical activation of the heart chambers is clearly visible on so-called depolarization maps. Furthermore, the technical solution is inexpensive and easily accessible.
“For us, this is a fundamental step,” says Miroslav Navrátil, CEO of the VDI Technologies startup. “We did something quite unconventional; we started working on the project even before obtaining the license. Our technology impressed investors so much that they were willing to take this risk with us,” he describes the journey. “But we all had great mutual trust,” he adds. “Bringing a new technology into commercial use is not a simple matter; signing the agreement is the culmination of many steps along a long journey. There is still a lot of work ahead of us. Colleagues from the startup are working on obtaining all necessary certifications,” adds Josef Lazar, Director of the Institute of Instrumentation of the Czech Academy of Sciences. However, for Czech scientists, this is already a tremendous success. They have received their second U.S. patent alongside numerous international awards for their innovative solution. “The startup consistently invests in research and development and prepares future innovations for the current technology,” state Pavel Jurák and Pavel Leinveber, researchers who contributed to the patented technology.
Irena Rektorová, the head of ICRC, thanked the scientists from ICRC and the Institute of Instrumentation of the Czech Academy of Sciences for the development of the new unique technology, the VDI company, and all partners for their patience and excellent cooperation. She wished the entire project much success and many interested parties worldwide. “The most important thing is that the new technology reaches the patients and contributes to improving care and the quality of their lives. ICRC fulfills its goal of bringing new discoveries to the patient and practicing cutting-edge medicine.”