Radcliffe Watts is Leveraging UVB Light to Treat Plaque Psoriasis
How the Mansfield startup’s technology is revolutionizing affordable health care for skin diseases
Nearly 1 billion people around the world suffer from skin diseases. For those who have chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis, vitiligo, and eczema, treatment can be expensive and time-consuming. Over the past few decades, phototherapy has emerged as a successful method of treatment. Now, Mansfield startup Radcliffe Watts is continuing that innovation, with a home Ultraviolet B device that makes light therapy more accessible and affordable for those who need it most.
“We are in the process of going through FDA approval for our LED product, Klär Lite,” co-founder and CEO Dan Smith said. “A few years ago, I was at the doctor, and she asked if I had tried going to a UV tanning session, which helps with psoriasis. My primary partner and I both have engineering backgrounds, and we looked into how this process could be refined by controlling the energy that is put into the skin.”
Rather than spending tens of thousands of dollars on treatments such as steroids and injections that have potentially adverse side effects, Klär Lite provides patients with an accessible alternative. Patients can use the device while going about their daily tasks, avoiding expensive trips to the doctor.
“The side effects of traditional treatments can be, in rare cases, cancer and organ issues,” Smith said. “People are starting to think about whether they want to take those drugs. Phototherapy was previously tough because it was only done in a clinic. Our system gives you the option to do the treatment at home, with a more affordable process that will mostly be covered by insurance for the patient.”
The device has undergone several iterations and pivots while advancing to its current position in the FDA approval process, both in product design and the sales process. And once the Klär Lite is through the testing and consultancy phase, Smith is readying the startup’s plans to bring the product to market.
“We changed the product interface to reduce cost,” he said. “For example, it actually cost more to have push buttons versus a touch screen, so that was a major change. We also worked with the FDA to redesign our system to be flexible across multiple microcontrollers to account for the current worldwide shortage. Now, we’re in the process of building our sales network to be ready the moment we have FDA clearance.”
Smith emphasized that Ohio startup resources such as JumpStart and MAGNET, both of which are supported by Ohio Third Frontier, have helped Radcliffe Watts build its network and expand funding for this next phase. Not only is the startup passionate about helping people, it also is striving to make a positive impact in the Mansfield community.
“There are so many resources here and a lot of talent with all the schools nearby,” he said. “We’ve had quite a bit of help from incubator hubs like Braintree (supported by Ohio Third Frontier), and we’ve utilized a lot of the entrepreneurial network in this area. MAGNET helped introduce us to our investment partners. We have a chance now to generate new jobs for the community and have our manufacturing in Mansfield, which we’re really passionate about.”
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