WithingsA company that makes connected medical devices announced Tuesday that it is developing a miniaturized platform that can analyze urine at home.
The company, founded in 2008, is based in France and has offices in the US, China and Hong Kong. With its new offering, Withings aims to sell a device that taps into the wealth of health information that is present in everyday urine.
More than 3,000 metabolic biomarkers can be assessed through urine, making it one of the gold standards for health assessment, said Withings CEO Mathieu Leombe. Analyzing these biomarkers can help diagnose and monitor certain diseases such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, kidney stones and urinary tract infection, he pointed out.
Withing’s new device, called the U-Scan, sits inside a toilet bowl. It consists of a pebble-shaped reader and a removable assay cartridge designed to assess specific biomarkers. The device automatically captures small amounts of urine and directs it to the analysis cartridge, which quickly begins a chemical analysis. The U-Scan automatically transmits readable results via Wi-Fi to the Withings app.
The device is being developed for the consumer sector as well as the professional medical market. Leombe acknowledged that his company is often compared to other companies such as Apple and Fitbit, but those companies have yet to come out with an at-home urinalysis product.
For the consumer market, Withings will sell the U-Scan with an analysis cartridge for tracking women’s monthly cycle and the U-Scan with a cartridge for monitoring nutrition and hydration. These devices will be available for purchase in Europe this year following regulatory approval, Leombe said.
He also said that each U-Scan starter kit will be priced at $499. There is an additional subscription cost of $30 per month that provides customers with automatic cartridge refills every 3 months.
As for the occupational medicine market, Withings has some research collaborations with Dr. Marie Courbais and Dr. Franck Perez, who are medical researchers based in Paris. Dr. Courbebaisse is starting a clinical trial to see how the device improves follow-up care for patients with cystine kidney lithiasis and uric acid kidney lithiasis. Dr. Perez is investigating how the device can be used to non-invasively detect recurrence of bladder and ovarian cancer.
Collaborating with medical professionals to understand the best use cases for U-Scan technology will remain a priority for Withings, Leombe announced.
“Now [U-Scan’s analysis cartridges] can be tailored to analyze a combination of markers such as pH, specific gravity, ketones, vitamin C, albumin and creatinine, but Withings chemistry teams are on hand to help healthcare professionals create custom cartridges for their use case “, he said.