Afon Technology, is a small team based in South Wales tackling one of the biggest technology challenges in the world of diabetes: non-invasive, continuous, blood glucose monitoring.
The team headed up by founder and microwave engineer, Dr Sabih Chaudhry is on a mission to develop the world’s first truly non-invasive continuous glucose monitor (CGM), Glucowear®. The wearable device will sit on the underside of the user’s wrist and using very low-powered frequency waves will measure blood glucose levels which will then be communicated back to a companion app on the user’s smartphone.
Dr Chaudhry has been dedicated to bringing this much-needed technology to life for many years but it was only in 2015 that he was able to secure substantial investment to allow him to build up a team to help with this hugely challenging feat. It was whilst working on a cancer treatment technology also using low-powered RF/microwaves that Dr Chaudhry had what he calls his ‘Heath Robinson’ moment with a friend when they realised that microwaves could be used to detect changes in biological constituents.
Afon Technology now employees a number of highly skilled and experienced engineers and regulatory experts who are working together to bring this device to market. The company has been recognised on a number of occasions for its innovative and ground-breaking work, most recently by being awarded a European Innovation Council Accelerator Grant of €2.4million. The company is currently preparing the device for further clinical trials in order to secure CE marking.
Meeting the challenge
Diabetes is a global pandemic with 537 million adults living with the condition, a number predicted to rise to 643 million by 2030. In Wales alone, caring for people with diabetes costs NHS Wales £500 million per year.
Diabetes technology and treatment has come a long way in the last 100 years with current CGMs enabling people with diabetes the ability to self-manage their condition with much more control and information. However, at best they are minimally invasive and not accessible to all living with diabetes. Health complications due to poorly managed diabetes are serious and can be life threatening. A truly non-invasive glucose monitoring device is what so many of the diabetes community and healthcare professionals have been waiting for.
The scale of this challenge is obvious and a number of the ‘big’ tech giants haven’t even been able to come up with a solution yet. The team at Afon is excited and hopeful that they will be able to say the very first ‘non-invasive CGM’ was developed in Wales.