Somnus Scientific is a multi-award-winning diagnostics company aiming to be the world-leading provider of solutions to recognised clinical problems in intravenous sedation and Total Intravenous Anaesthesia (TIVA).
Somnus has invented novel sensors that detect the drug propofol in real-time at clinically relevant concentrations. We will incorporate those sensors into bedside monitoring devices for use in hospitals throughout the world.
Somnus’ planned point of care, real-time, propofol monitors will:
- Improve the well-being of patients receiving sedation or general anaesthesia
- Reduce the cost of care
- Facilitate a major reduction in healthcare derived climate change.
Tell us about yourself?
I have been a consultant anaesthetist for over 25 years and so fully understand the problem we are solving. I have also previously commercialised other patient safety devices and am therefore happy in both clinical and commercial environments.
I co founded Somnus with two colleagues, an internationally recognised clinical researcher, and a serial entrepreneur helping lifescience and medtech companies fund their ambitions.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Find ways and people to help move the business at greater pace. The problems we are solving are real and impact patients every day. We need the solutions as quickly as possible.
What problem does your business solve?
The global lack of real-time, point-of-care blood propofol monitoring to help doctors and nurses provide personalised dosing for each patient being sedated or anaesthetised with propofol.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
We know that patients are sometimes over-sedated with propofol, for instance in the intensive care unit. When this happens they take longer to get off life support machines such as ventilators and are at a higher risk of dying.
Similarly, when patents are anaesthetised most are given anaesthetic gases to breath. These gases are the single biggest cause of health-care derived climate change. They are potent greenhouse gases, in some instance 10,000 times more damaging than CO2.
Intravenous propofol is the only alternative. It has been used for many years but has not been more widely adopted because the concentration in the patient cannot be measured (as it can in the case of gases) in real-time.
We are inspired to fill the unmet need in real-time blood propofol monitoring and make care safer for patients, more cost effective for hospitals, and better for the environment.
What is your magic sauce?
Our IP is that we have invented (and patented) novel sensors that detect propofol at clinically relevant concentrations. We are now testing our sensors with human plasma obtained from patients anaesthetised and undergoing surgery.
At present there are no real-time blood propofol monitors available for clinicians to use.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
To validate our sensors and build them into clinical monitor systems. We plan to launch our first product in 2025 and are currently fund raising to support the product development phase.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Propofol is a difficult drug to work with and the technical aspects of inventing a sensor have been challenging. By working with leading experts in the field, though, we have achieved our aim of creating clinically applicable sensors.
How do people get involved/buy into your vision?
We are pre-revenue generating and have funded our work so far through tax efficient investment (EIS) and government grant (Innovate UK).
Our investors are clinicians who see the need for our products as well as angels active in our space. We have just opened our next fund raising round and would like to hear from those interested in investing in a company with a global sales potential at a relatively early stage.