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.
Max Bär joined hemotune in June 2018 as a scientist. With a sound knowledge in organic synthesis and great enthusiasm for innovative applied sciences, he is supporting the development of the magnetic nanosorbent with regard to synthesis and functionalization. Prior to joining hemotune, Max graduated from the University of Zurich in Switzerland focusing on organic chemistry. Throughout his studies he worked on multiple synthesis projects such as the syntheses of small signaling molecules bearing a diazeniumdiolate functionality, a macrocyclic tripeptide and a Cladribine derivative. Both for his BSc and MSc he was honored with the Alfred-Werner Legacy for his outstanding academic achievements.
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.
Edouard Fonck joined hemotune in March 2018 to lead the business development activities. Edouard has more than 14 years of experience in the life sciences and medical device area. Prior to joining hemotune, he worked for Endosense and Sequana Medical, where he was Business Development Director for markets in Europe and overseas. He is also the founder of Scitus Medical, a consulting service and incubator company in the medical device field. Edouard holds a PhD from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne and a bachelor degree in chemical engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
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.
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.
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.