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3 December, 2014 - 17:08 By Tony Quested

Sagentia helps develop wearable smart device to deter smoking

Sagentia HQ at Harston Mill - the team helping smokers quit

Sagentia, the Cambridge UK technology innovator, is working on what is said to be the world’s first programmable and wearable nicotine delivery device to help people quit smoking.

It has teamed up with Chrono Therapeutics in a California, which recently raised $34 million in Series A financing to complete product development and clinical studies for SmartStop – described by the US business as “revolutionary.”

SmartStop combines a wearable device – which offers programmable, transdermal nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) – with real-time digital behavioural support that promotes compliance.

The partners say that up to now, many products on the market that aim to help people stop smoking exhibit low rates of success. 

For example, standard nicotine patches deliver a steady stream of nicotine throughout the day, while nicotine gum delivers spikes of nicotine, but often the doses are too low or compliance is poor resulting in relatively low efficacy in helping smokers to quit, the collaborators claim.

SmartStop is designed to be worn 24 hours a day and to automatically coincide the dose of nicotine that it delivers with the cigarette craving patterns that have been identified in smokers. 

The device then uses Bluetooth technology to wirelessly communicate with the SmartStop digital support programme, providing real time guidance to help smokers cope with cravings and quit for good.

Sagentia was chosen as the lead development partner to help Chrono bring the technology to market. 

Sagentia’s involvement began with concept generation and early feasibility testing to ensure that the product is small enough to wear comfortably and could be manufactured at the right price point. 

The Sagentia team is now continuing through the full design, miniaturisation and development of the electromechanical microfluidic system, including the durable control unit and the nicotine pump delivery system. Key requirements are that the device be low cost and have a small and light design that is attractive to consumers.

Alan Levy, CEO of Chrono Therapeutics, said: “Smoking costs people their health and eventually their lives, but current technologies like nicotine gums and patches are not effective in enabling smokers to quit permanently because they do not address the cyclical nature of nicotine cravings and offer little to no behavioural support. 

“We believe we have a very compelling technology that will solve many of the problems that make smoking cessation so difficult and working with Sagentia as a product development partner is allowing us to get this to market faster.”

Dr Gregory Berman, head of drug delivery at Sagentia, added: “The technology has the potential to revolutionise the smoking cessation market and make a big difference to peoples’ lives. The compliance aspect of this device is particularly exciting – providing patients with feedback, support and encouragement on their progress.”

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