Celtro uses semiconductor technology to turn implants into self-sufficient systems.
Semiconductors are the basis of modern medical devices such as pacemakers, biosensors, and hearing aids. Today, technology advancements have reduced power consumption of chips to the extent that the energy supply of such systems can be powered by body’s own cell energy. Battery depletion, device replacement, replacement operations and charging stations will become obsolete in the future.
Celtro GmbH was founded in Dresden, Germany in 2019 with the aim of supplying autonomous medical products from such »cell power plants«. Building on its portfolio of intellectual property rights in the field of nanowatt electronics, Celtro GmbH has started developing such medical products. Electrical energy harvesting replaces the battery as an energy storage, in view to supply medical applications such as patient monitoring and pacemakers.
The basic idea is that living cells in an organism resemble biological batteries that constantly generate electrical energy. If it becomes possible to use a small part of this energy, implantable medical devices would become energy-self-sufficient. Even patients with previously incurable diseases, such as paraplegia, could be helped permanently in the future.
»Moore's Law is our friend,« says Dr.-Ing. Gerd Teepe, Founder and CEO of Celtro GmbH. »Today's semiconductor technologies are astonishingly powerful. 1000 billion computing operations per second can be performed with less than 1 watt of energy consumption. However, biological processes are much slower. This allows us to reduce the energy consumption down to several nanowatts. This is sufficient for biological functions and low enough to be generated by the tissue itself. Self-sufficient implantable systems become possible.«
Co-Founder, Dr.-med. Judith Piorkowski, cardiologist and electrophysiologist, explains this in more detail: »A cell absorbs sugar as an energy source and converts it into electrical and mechanical energy. There are billions of cells in a heart. Only a small fraction of the energy converted there is needed for the operation of self-sufficient implants, such as pacemakers.«
Celtro GmbH successfully completed its first financing round in December 2021. Private investors come from Germany and the USA. The state of Saxony is also supporting the development project financially in the context of its technology support program and facilitated an early operational start.
The current focus is on semiconductor development in cooperation with partners in Saxony. For 2022, an expansion of the staff in Dresden with experts from the fields of semiconductor development, system development and cell biology is planned. With the conclusion of the Seed financing round, the first phase of the »NanoPower-BioChip« development program is secured. It will lay the foundation for cellular energy harvesting and demonstrate its feasibility.
»We are very pleased that both private investors and the state of Saxony support our breakthrough vision of energy-self-sufficient medical devices. The possibility of combining advanced semiconductor, cell biology and medicine research is a unique advantage of the location in Dresden and perfectly supports the mission of our company,« says Jarek Budny, Co-Founder of Celtro GmbH.