SBIR and STTR Success Story for
Applied Health Science

(Information Posted/Updated on 04/09/2003)

Applied Health Science
119 First Avenue South #110
Seattle, WA  98104

Contact:    Patrick McNees or Michelle Toth
Phone:      206-467-1187
Fax:          206-467-6484

Project Title:  Wound and Skin Intelligence System (TM) or WSIS (TM)
Related Award(s):  R43 NR 03474
Technology Developed:
The purpose of the early SBIR grant work was to validate and automate a standardized assessment instrument (the Pressure Sore Status Tool, originally authored by Dr. McNees' colleague, Dr. Barbara Bates-Jensen) for use in field settings for describing and tracking status changes in chronic wounds (e.g. pressure ulcers).

The WSIS (Wound and Skin Intelligence System (tm) or WSIS(tm)) provides clinicians with the ability to assess risk and request a "case specific" prevention plan for reducing the probabilities that a wound will develop. The system tracks the realities of prevention and treatment outcomes over time and relates these outcomes to individual risk and wound profiles and interventions employed. Thus, the system has the capacity to "learn" from its own experience. All users of the WSIS submit periodic data to Applied Health Science in Seattle. Dr. McNees reports that currently the data comes in from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. The company's relationship (described subsequently) with Bristol-Myers Squibb and ConvaTec will likely result in dissemination and data accumulation from approximately 75 countries.

Through this strategic world-wide approach to standardized assessment, intervention specification, data integration and analysis, Dr. McNees anticipates much faster determination of "better" practice and incremental improvements over time. A two-year controlled evaluation in a health region in British Columbia, Canada has been completed. The results reflect marked decreases in pressure ulcer prevalence and significant decreases in time to healing for chronic wounds.

Key Words:  Chronic wound, Pressure ulcer, Risk assessment, Pressure Sore Status Tool, WSIS.
Uses of Technology/Products/Service:
Fundamental Assumption of Utility: The work was premised on the assumption that appropriate chronic wound management and treatment, as well as general improvements in practice could best be accomplished through: (a) objective descriptions of the status of the wound and (b) subsequent reliable reflections of change in that status. No such methodology or technology existed. Joining forces with Dr. Nancy Bergstrom (NINR has funded her prior R01 research; Chair of the AHCPR panels for Pressure Ulcer Prevention and Treatment) and Dr. Barbara Braden (namesake of the Braden Scale, the most widely used pressure ulcer risk assessment instrument) the system was elaborated to include not only wound assessment, but also risk assessment and tracking of changes in status across time. Through review of literature, guidelines and Dr. McNees' own data which was accumulated from beta testing, Dr. McNees has devised and automated a clinical decision support component for the system. Dr. McNees' publications support these statements.

Benefit to Company:
Dr. McNees states that his company has generated almost $2.25 million in addition to SBIR for product finalization and commercialization.

Dr. McNees states that the current projections reflect $30 million annually in revenue from the United States market. ConvaTec is in the process of forming a new business unit. Applied Health Science anticipates adding about one employee for each 75 users of the system. Together with ConvaTec, Dr. McNees' company is forming strategic partnerships and alliances with other small businesses who provide technologies and services which add function and value to the existing system (e.g. a tele-medicine home health company in Chicago and a long term care claims processing company in Nashville).

How Product Was Commercialized:
ConvaTec is a wholly owned business unit of Bristol Myers-Squibb and is the largest wound products company in the world. After being approached by many of the major wound and skin products companies, Dr. McNees' company developed a strategic alliance with ConvaTec wherein they would provide continuation funding for follow-along and bridge work leading to the commercialization. In exchange, Dr. McNees granted a right-of-first-refusal for licensing the system. ConvaTec subsequently executed that right, thus merging Dr. McNees' technology and research capabilities with ConvaTec's marketing power; a presence in about 80 countries world-wide. ConvaTec subsequently bought all rights to the software. However, Applied Health Science (AHS) retained the world-wide data "pipelines", warehouse and analytical functions. AHS also has a right-to-first-review for any elaborations of or changes in the system.

Other Comments Related to Company's Success Story:
With the help of critical early support through SBIR and the development of the WSIS, Dr. McNees is now focusing on other chronic conditions of aging populations. For example, Dr. McNees has formed a strategic alliance with SRS Medical in Boston to develop a comprehensive system for urinary incontinence that is similar in concept to the WSIS. Dr. McNees reports that the "modules" will revolve around a central core and data from one system to potentially enhance "learning" in the other system. Dr. McNees is also working on nutritional deficits in the elderly.

Past R&D and/or Sales from this Project:   $2.5 M