Interview with PhiloMetron CEO Darrel Drinan

Prior to co-founding PhiloMetron in 2001, Mr. Drinan was the Director of New Program Management for Braun ThermoScan, a $2 billion subsidiary of the Gillette Company. He led the new consumer medical products development activities for Braun, including research into wireless, non-invasive, medical sensing applications markets.

PhiloMetron is a medical technology accelerator located in San Diego that is developing novel therapeutic solutions for chronic disease and quality of life conditions utilizing the company’s novel and proprietary technology. Philo creates spinouts at key valuation points of the clinical development process to successfully commercialize the technology solution. Philo’s first spinout, Corventis, is commercializing novel solutions to address the costly recurring hospitalizations of patients suffering from congestive heart failure, and has successfully raised venture capital from Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers and Mohr Davidow Ventures, DAG Ventures and PTV Sciences.

We had the chance to conduct a short phone interview with Mr. Drinan recently:

1. At Wearable Technologies we were really excited when we first heard about Corventis’ telemetry system and were particularly impressed by the wearable skin patch PiiX. As founder and former Director at Corventis I was wondering if you could give us some background information on this company.

The company has received 4 FDA clearances for applications of its products. One of them is currently cleared to be marketed in the United States by the FDA and reimbursed by Medicare. This first application is a mobile cardiac ECG monitoring system in the form of a digital plaster.

2. As mentioned at the start, Corventis is the first spin-out of your medical technology development accelerator PhiloMetron. How exactly does “development acceleration” work at PhiloMetron? Are you looking for interesting projects to realize or are you inventor and idea generator for new projects? Are you looking for partners and, if so, what kind of partners?

We are an incubator that selects projects internally. We select these projects based upon the unmet clinical need and strongly believe that multi-parameter physiological monitoring is the future of these digital plaster/”Smart Band-Aid” applications. After we select the large unmet need we develop multiple solutions (prototype devices) to clinically test to determine their efficacy; once these early clinical studies are completed and demonstrate an acceptable level of efficacy (accuracy) for the planned application, we create a spinout company to complete the product design and begin the challenging process of commercializing the product.

3. At CES 2011 you presented a Calorie Monitoring patch. How does this patch work and is it already on the market by now? For which target groups is it designed?

This “Smart Band-Aid” / digital plaster measure various physiological parameters in real time to derive the number of calories a person eats and burns continuously. This venture is our next spin out, but we haven’t named it yet so we refer to it currently using our internal project name: PTMS, which means “patch that measures stuff”. We are now looking for strategic distribution partners for this project.

4. What is your favorite Wearable Technologies product/project besides your own?

I don’t have a specific product in mind but in general I am most impressed by the ability of making tech invisible and the shift from just collecting data for a diagnostic display to the more relevant action step. Like they did with the app woofound – this app helps people to find things to do based upon personality and preference. It will also be interesting to see what is in the future especially with regard to the smart phones UI, including the new Nokia phone which uses “tiles” to display information.