Since
2019
The Netherlands
Devices for treatment
TRL 4

Challenge

60% of all newborns and 80% of all preterm babies develop neonatal jaundice or hyperbilirubinemia. This is a physiological process due to the lower processing performance of the liver in the first week of life. Still, 14 million babies need treatment to prevent potential complications. Yearly 100,000 newborn suffer yearly from hazardous hyperbilirubinemia, associated with neurological damage or death. Current method is blue light phototherapy, to break down Bilirubin, before becoming toxic to the brain. Illuminating the baby’s skin with the blue spectrum light has been proven over decades. However, common practice requires to place the baby in an open cod or incubator, naked, with goggles in the neonatal intensive care or special care nursery of the hospital. Newer advances cover the baby in a light blanket, still needing goggles and most of the time stationary placed with exclusive moments to hold the child. The consequences is, that child and parents are physically separated, disrupting the establishment of exclusive breastfeeding and sleeping cues of otherwise healthy newborn. The natural way of carrying and soothing a crying child is nearly impossible during the treatment. Not to forget the impactful therapeutic kangaroo mother care for preterm newborn, which is distracted by traditional phototherapy care. In essence, the parents and baby are in most cases hospitalized. Main culprit of this are the missing treatment solutions, which are suitable for safe parents use under observation of a health care professional.

Opportunity

Per year the number of babies eligible for phototherapy in Europe is 240.000, in South East Asia is 1.400.000 and US 309.000. Beside true family centric care in the hospital, a considerable number of babies Bilihome aims to enable the experience natural care at home.

Solution

Bilihome is transforming a 50 year old technology for newborn with the need for jaundice treatment. Bilihome’s solution will turn intrusive clinical care into safe natural care at home. Therefore Bilihome is the patient- driven innovation that enables safe and effective phototherapy treatment at the hospital and at home. The solution works on the principle of blue light therapy with a high irradiance output, integrated in a comfortable romper or vest garment. The system miniaturization allows full mobile flexibility in movement and remote guidance, which is supported by frequently generated treatment insights.

Newborns and their families will enjoy a gentle and optimal treatment for their jaundice, while parents are easily able to hold the baby, breastfeed and, do diaper change, as they normally would do. Allowing the freedom to carry the newborn despite treatment, trigger the desire to do the therapy at home. Hospitals benefit from the opportunity to free up bed space. The certified baby friendly hospital initiative benefits from lowering the burden of performance indicators like exclusive breastfeeding at discharge or therapeutic skin to skin care for preterm babies.

Status

Bilihome B.V. has focused on the iteration of core design elements and the technological feasibility. Now the team has started to work with a system development partner, certified according to ISO 13485 and striving for reliable healthcare solutions.

The MOMENTUM fund (powered by NLC, the European Healthcare Venture Builder) gave Bilihome B.V. great momentum in 2020. In total together with angel’s investment, grants, subsidies and loans funding of €525k had been secured. Next step is to fundraise, to capture the product development and clinical evaluation tp file for CE in 2022.

Meet the team

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Rick Wielens

Inventor Bilihome

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Margret Huenerbein

CEO

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Roland Zegger

Venture Partner at NLC

Trained as a Pharmacist, he worked in several pharmaceutical companies and has broad experience in marketing and sales functions as well as general management.  As Venture Partner his focus is on building innovative companies and strengthening NLC’s abilities to bring innovations to healthcare.