A Maltese startup is developing wearable systems to continuously monitor individuals living with diabetes during their daily activities in order to detect arising foot complications at an early stage and reduce the risk of foot ulcerations and amputations.
The startup, TARSOS, was founded by two researchers from the University of Malta, Dr Owen Falzon from the Centre for Biomedical Cybernetics, and Dr Stephen Mizzi from the Department of Podiatry. The TARSOS team was successful in securing funding from the MITA YouStartIT#3 programme in order to accelerate the development of a preliminary prototype of their foot monitoring system.
Diabetes is a worldwide epidemic affecting more than 8% of the global population. The condition increases the risk of developing foot ulcerations and other foot complications with severe implications on their quality of life. In Malta alone, every year more than 400 individuals lose part of their foot due to complications from diabetes. However, with appropriate preventive measures, the vast majority of these complications can be avoided. The system being developed by the team at TARSOS can minimise the chances of these complications and can lead to significant economic and social benefits to the patients, their familites and our healthcare system.
Apart from the financial support offered by the MITA YouStartIT#3 programme, the programme coordinators also helped identify mentors with expertise specific to the challenges faced by each of the funded startups. In the case of TARSOS, a number of mentors that could complement the team’s technical and clinical skills with their experience in product development, customer research and market analysis were identified. Through the programme the startups were also provided with round-the-clock access to a well equipped working space at the MITA Innovation Hub including meeting areas, internet connectivity and printing facilities. Another valuable aspect of the programme consisted of regular cohort meetings involving the funded startups and advisors which provided an ideal environment for brainstorming and networking.
The MITA YouStartIT#3 programme offered an ideal platform for TARSOS to develop and accelerate the execution of their ideas as well as to refine the team’s vision for a sustainable route to commercialisation that can leave a truly positive impact on patients and society.