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 Stiftung.
Manuel Baumgartner joined hemotune in November 2018 as an R&D Engineer. Manuel obtained his PhD in Materials Science from ETH Zurich, where he worked on nanomagnetism and spintronics devices. At hemotune he supports the device development team, focusing on testing and measuring magnetic nanoparticles. His doctoral thesis was nominated for the 2018 ETH Medal for outstanding PhD work.
Monika Dengler joined hemotune in August 2019 as a biomedical scientist. She is involved in nanoSorbent product development and manages the preclinical functional performance and biocompatibility studies. Monika received her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from ETH Zurich, where she worked on liver enzymes relevant to xenobiotic metabolism. During her studies, Monika completed a series of toxicology courses and gained expertise in molecular, cellular, and clinical toxicology, risk assessment, and safety pharmacology.
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Regulatory & Quality Affairs Manager
Ursina Haltinner joined hemotune in October 2018 as a Regulatory and Quality Affairs Manager. Ursina brings along 10 years of experience in the health care industry. She started her career as regulatory affairs manager in the product development center of Synthes GmbH. Besides the medical device industry, she also provided regulatory support to biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, taking care of the main markets such as the US and EU. Ursina holds a doctoral degree in veterinary medicine from Vetsuisse Faculty, Zurich.
Chemical Process Engineer
Lukas Huber joined hemotune in November 2019 as a chemical process engineer assisting in the development and production of a magnetic nanosorbent. Prior to joining hemotune, Lukas worked at Empa, where he was responsible for the pyrolysis and activation of nitrogen-doped carbon xerogels as well as for the upscaling of silica aerogels from lab scale to pilot scale. Lukas holds a Master's degree from ETH Zurich in Materials Science.
Project Manager Device
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 MSc 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.
Project Manager Preclinical
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.
R&D Engineer Intern
Nina Mörgeli joined Hemotune in February 2020 as an intern in R&D Engineering. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from ETH Zurich. During her studies, she specialized in biotechnology and worked on the immobilization of giant lipid vesicles for AFM-based biophysical membrane measurements.
Inga Nilsson joined hemotune in July 2019 as an R&D chemist. Inga obtained her PhD in Chemistry from the University of Rostock in Germany, where she focused on the multi-step synthesis of various biologically relevant oligosaccharides. Prior to joining hemotune, Inga worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research in Emeryville, California, where she gained considerable experience in bacteriology, chemical biology, and assay development. With her knowledge of organic synthesis and keen interest in biological applications, she is assisting in the development of a magnetic nanosorbent, including synthesis and functionalization.
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Lorenz Poiger joined hemotune in March 2019 as an R&D Engineer. Lorenz holds a Bachelor’s degree from ZHAW in Mechanical Engineering majoring in Biomechanical Engineering. Throughout his studies he has developed and tested a lumbar spine disc implant for a customer in the medical field and gained experiences in product development including prototyping and manufacturing.
R&D Scientist Intern
Anna Stocker joined the hemotune team in January 2020 as an intern in R&D. Anna holds a Master’s degree in Molecular Life Sciences from the University of Bern (2019). As an undergraduate student she worked on translation regulation in the parasite Trypanosoma brucei, focusing on the characterization of particular tRNA molecules. During her Master’s studies, Anna worked on the structural analysis of bacterial and eukaryotic pore-forming toxins.