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Despite improvements in dialysis therapy, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death for almost half of all dialysis patients and life expectancy on dialysis is just one-third of that for the general population.

The problem is that the patient’s immune system sees the dialysis filter as a foreign body, creating inflammation that damages the cardiovascular system over time.

Invizius was spun out, with Edinburgh Innovations’ support, by Dr Andy Herbert and his team based on years of research in the School of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh.

Invizius has developed H-Guard, which acts as an “invisibility cloak” for the filter, effectively hiding it from the immune system.

Invizius’s H-Guard product is a powerful anti-inflammatory used as a ‘primer’ to coat the filter surface which, when mixed with the patient’s blood, makes the surface seem less foreign to the patient’s immune system. Unlike some other proposed solutions, H-Guard does not shut down the immune system but instead effectively ‘hides’ the device from it to prevent an immune response.

Technology potential

There is huge potential to use the technology with other devices or procedures such as heart and lung machines, stents, catheters, vascular grafts, or in organ and cell transplants.

Richard Boyd, Chief Executive Officer of Invizius, said:

There is a global healthcare need and significant commercial opportunity for the proprietary H-Guard® Priming Solution treatment which has the potential to improve quality of life and safety of patients on dialysis with kidney failure. We are initially targeting patients with high innate immune response to dialysis, a worldwide market estimated to be worth over £1.5 billion.

Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, who previously worked for 19 years as a consultant nephrologist in the NHS, said:

Invizius has been founded on world-class research carried out at the University of Edinburgh by the company’s CTO, Dr Andy Herbert, and backed by an excellent management team and high calibre investors. The H-Guard priming solution could revolutionize kidney dialysis, it has the potential to significantly reduce inflammation and its associated complications.

Since its spinout, Invizius has raised significant investment, including from Old College Capital, the University of Edinburgh’s in-house venture capital fund. This investment is supporting the company as it works to bring H-Guard from bench to bedside.

Edinburgh Innovation’s Old College Capital manages the University’s shareholdings in Invizius. Read about OCC Holdings for more information.


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