Auckland company's breakthrough tool for gut disorders

The winners of the KiwiNet Commercialisation Awards were announced last night, which celebrate New Zealand made scientific products.

Auckland company Alimetry won the Breakthrough Project category, who are wanting to become a world leader in diagnosing Gastro and intestine disorders with their wearable medical device - Gastric-Alimetry.

The device looks like a giant blue plaster but it's not there to heal the outside, it used to investigate the inside - specifically underlying stomach issues.

"The symptoms the patients suffer are pain, bloating, vomiting and they are very, very common. So one in five Kiwis suffer from one of these," Alimentry chief operations officer Hanie Yee said. 

This Auckland-based company has spent three years working on the technology. 

The idea is to detect gastro disorders which until now, has meant long waiting lists and lots and lots of tests. 

"Eighty-five percent of these tests come back as non conclusive so therefore these patients are on a treadmill of different tests and for years or even decades they will go undiagnosed," Yee said. 

The technology is a world first for its non-invasive design.

Typically, patients have to eat a radioactive omelette so health professionals can use a special camera to follow its journey and detect stomach rhythms.

But this device is wearable with a small hardware reader and a big plaster-like pad which are attached. 

"Today the patients can just have this [reader] and this sticky patch which has all of our electros these are all little electros like ECG," Yee said.

And from there it's stuck to the patient's stomach and stays there for around four hours.

Specialists then get data from both the reader as it listens to the stomach and from the patient, who logs their symptoms through an app.

Together, the two give enough data to diagnose.  

The groundbreaking technology is already being rolled out here and in the US but Yee explains they aren't stopping there.

"We are in the process of getting further regulatory approval so that would enable us to get into Canada and further into different countries and also Australia". 

But the team hope it will become more accessible for everyday Kiwis over the next few years.