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 mio babies need treatment to prevent potential complications. Yet, 100,000 newborn suffer yearly from hazardous hyperbilirubinemia, associated with brain damage or death. Considering €1mio lifetime costs for a patient with severe brain damage, the burden for families and health systems accumulates up to €100bn. 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 is very effective. However, common practice requires to place the baby in an open cod or incubator, naked, with goggles in the NICU of the hospital. Newer advances cover the baby in a blue light blanket, still needing goggles and most of the time stationary placed in a cod in the special care nursery with exclusive moments to hold the child. The consequences is, that child and parents are physically separated, disrupting the establishment of exclusive breastfeeding cues of otherwise healthy newborn or therapeutic continuous kangaroo mother care for preterm newborn with jaundice. And even more distracting, the parents and baby are in most cases still hospitalized due to missing monitoring capabilities.
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.
Reaching 10% of patients is a realistic goal in the targeted markets Europe and Asia.
Bilihome offers uncompromised bonding with wearable blue light therapy for jaundiced newborn and parents. Bilihome is the user driven innovation that enables safe and effective phototherapy treatment at hospitals and home. A solution works on the principle of blue light therapy with a high irradiance output, placed in a comfortable smart wearable. Newborns 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 freedom to carry the newborn despite treatment, trigger the urge to do the therapy at home. For hospitals it brings 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. The new way to apply phototherapy helps nurses to become a coach for the parents to become comfortable with the care even in the hospital. This may impact workload and satisfaction with these particular patients.
The system technology is patented, the initial clinical investigation on specific aspects of the incorporated sensor/algorithm have been done and follow up trials are in preparation. The QMS system has been aligned with our system development partner and product
development is in its initiation phase. After the MOMENTUM fund was granted (powered by NLC Venture Builder), the focus is to secure additional funding, to capture the full product development, including the sensor technology implementation.
Meet the team
Taco van der Feltz
NLC Venture Partner
A highly international and networked entrepreneur trained as Medical Doctor and Medical Biologist, he is a visionary strategist conversant within and across disciplines. As Venture Partner, his focus is on building innovative companies and strengthening NLC’s abilities to bring innovations to healthcare.