Digital health company Epicore Biosystems on wearable tech

Roozbeh Ghaffari is the co-founder & CEO of Epicore Biosystems. Here he discusses building the digital healthcare company & the rise of wearable technology

Epicore Biosystems is a digital health company developing advanced sweat-sensing wearables that provide real-time personalised health insights for hydration, stress, and wellness. We develop advanced wearable solutions that measure sweat biometrics and provide customised recovery insights about hydration. This includes sweat rate, total sweat loss, sodium chloride concentration, and total sodium chloride loss — all captured with an unobtrusive wearable sweat sensor, analysed through a proprietary cloud engine and delivered directly to the wearer through a smartphone application and cloud portal. Our suite of sweat-sensing wearables includes the Gx Sweat Patch created in partnership with PepsiCo and Gatorade, the Discovery Patch® Sweat Collection System, and the Connected Hydration wearable hydration sensor and mobile application tailored for industrial athletes and sports. 

Co-founder and CEO Roozbeh Ghaffari has been focused on research, translation, and the commercialisation of wearable tech for over 15 years. The Epicore founding team published a seminal paper in Science Translational Medicine detailing a new class of wearable microfluidic sensors. This publication led to enormous interest from industry and clinical organisations to commercialise and deploy Epicore’s solutions across different applications, including sports science, battlefield hydration, cystic fibrosis, and hyperhidrosis. 

Roozbeh Ghaffari, the co-founder and CEO of Epicore Biosystems

Advanced wearable hydration healthcare solutions

The company just recently began a collaboration with Denka. 

“We are collaborating with Denka to pilot and distribute our portfolio of advanced wearable hydration solutions in Japan and expand into Asia markets,” says Ghaffari. “In Asia, residents are experiencing excessive heat exposure and dehydration, which can have harmful effects on cognitive and physical performance, as well as physiological function. Our collaboration with Denka enables us to unlock new opportunities to address the hydration challenges head-on within the Asia market.”

Epicore Biosystems also has partnerships in the sports and fitness sector, with leading brands like PepsiCo and Gatorade. 

“We also have partnerships with multinational corporations, clinical organisations, and Department of Defense divisions interested in addressing heat stress and industrial safety. A few examples include Chevron Corp., Office of Naval Research, US Air Force, NIH, and Lurie Children’s Hospital,” says Ghaffari.

The company knows that sweat-sensing wearables can help industrial workers.

“Sweat-sensing wearables provide recovery insights about an industrial worker's hydration. The sensors track sweat rate, total sweat loss, sodium chloride concentration, and total sodium chloride loss. These insights are captured with a soft wearable sweat sensor, analysed through a cloud engine, and delivered directly to the wearer through a smartphone application and cloud portal. They help industrial workers understand whether they are at risk of excessive fluid and electrolyte loss. If a wearer does experience heavy losses an alert will then trigger with specific rehydration recommendations.

“They help industrial workers understand when they’re at risk of severe dehydration, right in the moment. If a wearer does experience significant fluid and electrolyte losses, an alert will trigger and they’ll be able to react to specific rehydration recommendations.”

These devices can also help athletes.

“Our wearable products help athletes and fitness enthusiasts in much the same way as industrial workers. The Gx Sweat Patch, for example, is a skin-like, wearable patch that pairs with an easy-to-use software app to provide real-time and personalised recommendations for athletes to optimally hydrate and refuel after exercise. The app enables athletes to track their workouts and view their real-time sweat profiles and nutritional recommendations.”

 

Wearable healthcare technology 

2022 has been an exciting year for Epicore with its strategic investment round closing and newly announced partnerships. 

“Our primary challenge in 2022 has been in striking the balance between launching products and maintaining advanced R&D. Finding that right balance between commercialisation and continuing to push forward innovation is a key challenge for a company of our size,” says Ghaffari. “We're maintaining both research and product development streams as innovation is core to our DNA. In the long term beyond 2022, I see us continuing to foster our novel biosensors and publishing our research as a critical stepping stone to bringing new Epicore products to market.”

During his time in the healthcare industry, Ghaffari’s biggest lesson has been figuring out the needs of customers. 

“Oftentimes, the voice of the customer is pulled in after initial prototypes and apps are developed and iterated. Working in the advanced tech and wearable tech space drives this point even further home as we’re in the business of introducing new product categories. It’s critical to internalise customer/user feedback early in the process and all the way through. Working with enterprise partners like Denka, PepsiCo, and Chevron Corp has elucidated product features upfront which in turn helps us iterate quickly and throughout the commercialization process.

“The next 12 months will be focused on growth here at Epicore Biosystems. We have several upcoming partnerships and a big product launch that we’re excited to share in the coming months.”

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