By: Jerred Ziegler
Every drop of sweat tells a story about what is happening inside the body. Hydration, nutrition and exposure to toxic chemicals can all be measured – with the right technology. Cincinnati-based Eccrine Systems is an industry leader in sweat sensing systems, and has developed patch technologies that capture and report sweat data in real time.
“The patch system is essentially an electronic laboratory that is designed to analyze sweat over hours and days,” said Robert Beech, CEO of Eccrine Systems. “The ability to do this without needles or implants will make sweat the easiest way to assess important indicators that tell us about physiological and medical conditions.”
Each Eccrine Systems patch can be customized to read whichever specific biomarkers are pertinent to the situation. Patch systems are currently being developed to monitor how medications affect patients, examine the health and hydration levels of laborers, and ensure that employees who work around hazardous materials aren’t exposed to toxic chemicals.
The company is advancing its technology and expanding worldwide through relationships with other companies including CoreSyte, an innovation partner for Gatorade’s Hydration Tracking System. A smart bottle cap and skin patch work together based on CoreSyte and Eccrine System’s technologies to send relevant data about electrolytes, skin temperature and other essential performance indicators to a smartphone app. The system provides cautionary alerts if an athlete’s stats are trending outside a desired range.
Beech has a lengthy history in the biotech industry. He launched Beech BioGroup and helped accelerate Intrexon before becoming an entrepreneur-in-residence to mentor startups at CincyTech, a southwest Ohio partner of Ohio Third Frontier. When Eccrine co-founder Dr. Jason Heikenfeld came to CincyTech, he was developing the sweat technology with the US Air Force Research Lab and the University of Cincinnati. Beech partnered with Heikenfeld to use his experience as a successful startup entrepreneur to bring the technology to market.
Eccrine Systems received a Technology Validation and Start-up Fund grant and Commercial Acceleration Loan Fund from Ohio Third Frontier, and worked with CincyTech to connect with investors and raise a seed round of funding, which the company has used for research and development of its sweat patch technology platform. The company is housed in the HCDC, a business incubator and another southwest partner of Ohio Third Frontier.
“It was very important for us to develop the technology platform and expand our intellectual property portfolio as rapidly as possible given the growing competition for next generation biosensing wearables,” said Beech. “With the assistance of CincyTech and HCDC, we were able to start partnering our sweat technology at least a year ahead of our competitors, allowing us to quickly become an industry leader.”
Beech says Cincinnati has the resources to grow a successful biotech company, from the research labs at the University of Cincinnati to engineering and manufacturing facilities.
“Cincinnati has created an ideal biotech community for companies like Eccrine Systems,” said Beech. “This region will be known for leading the world in biofluid diagnostics and screening because of the combined business. Technical and scientific guidance are available here for companies with exciting, innovative ideas.”