After many failed attempts to develop sepsis drugs during the last 30 years, there is now a shift towards extracorporeal blood purification in order to remove sepsis-causing toxins or inflammatory mediators directly from the patient’s blood. One of the target substances that needs to be removed is endotoxin, a very potent toxin that is present in the blood circulation of about 50% of septic patients. So far, removing endotoxin has been very challenging due to physical limitations of classical blood purification filters.
hemotune is developing a radically new approach for therapeutic blood purification that allows to remove endotoxins in a way that is much more efficient and biocompatible compared to state-of-the-art methods. In contrast to using rigid blood filters, we use tiny, strongly magnetic beads that offer a much larger accessible surface area as well as superior mobility and induce no shear stress on the blood. The whole procedure is carried out in an add-on device to dialysis machines that is connected to the patient’s blood circulation. There, the nanomagnets are administered to the blood, capture the endotoxin and are finally separated from the blood by magnetic forces. Thus, only purified endotoxin-free blood without nanomagnets will flow back to the patient.
After successful pre-clinical proof of principle and safety studies in animal models, the team now focusses on the development of a medical device for human application and prepares a first-in-man clinical trial.
Lukas Langenegger coordinates the hemotune project and is responsible for business development. Together with Corinne and Carlos he co-founded the ETH spinoff hemotune AG, where he acts as CEO. After completing an apprenticeship in banking and working for UBS AG in several positions, Lukas studied Chemical- and Bioengineering at ETH Zurich and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree with distinction from ETH Zurich. Combining an entrepreneurial mindset with his background in economics and engineering, Lukas is passionate about bringing cutting-edge technology from research to real world applications untapping its full potential to the benefit of as many people as possible. Together with the hemotune team, Lukas successfully participated in several startup competitions and was awarded with a grant of the Gebert Rüf Foundation.
Corinne Hofer is responsible for the development of the magnetic nanosorbent, the central piece of the hemotune technology. Together with Carlos and Lukas she co-founded the ETH spinoff hemotune AG, where she acts as CTO. Corinne brings along a profound knowledge and experience in magnetic nanoparticle engineering and chemistry. She holds a PhD degree in Chemical and Bioengineering and an MSc in Chemistry both from ETH Zurich. In her PhD studies she focused on the chemical functionalization and modification of magnetic nanoparticles for various applications in science and industry.
Hardware Development Lead
Jean-Claude Metzger has joined hemotune in December 2017, leading the development of hemotune’s blood purification device. Before joining hemotune, he was responsible for hardware development of a post-analytics device for in-vitro diagnostics heading a team of engineers as Department Project Leader at Roche Diagnostics. Jean-Claude holds both an M.Sc. and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from ETH Zurich. His doctoral thesis focused on the development and clinical evaluation of a hand rehabilitation device for stroke patients.
Carlos Mora coordinates the biological evaluation and preclinical testing of the hemotune medical device used for magnetic blood purification therapy. Together with Corinne and Lukas he co-founded the ETH spinoff hemotune AG, where he acts as COO. Carlos has more than five years of experience in nanotechnology and biomaterial engineering and holds a PhD degree in Chemical- and Bioengineering and an MSc in Microbiology and Immunology with distinction both from ETH Zurich. During his PhD studies he focused on the behavior and interaction of nanoparticles in biological systems. In 2014, he has co-founded and successfully helped to build up the Swiss science and technology think tank reatch in the role of vice president.