RALEIGH — Two Triangle medical technology firms are teaming up to create new blood pressure solutions that they believe will improve patient care and safety.

Raleigh-based Valencell, which makes biometric sensors for wearables, has signed a collaboration agreement with Halma-portfolio company SunTech Medical, based in RTP, to jointly develop clinical-grade blood pressure solutions augmented with photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor technology.

This multi-year agreement will allow the companies to work together to develop customized solutions and products for other medical device OEMs, as well as allowing SunTech to incorporate Valencell technology in its finished, branded products.

“We’re very pleased that two leading medical technology firms in North Carolina could come together to create new blood pressure solutions that will improve patient care and safety,” said Rob Sweitzer, SunTech’s president, in a statement.  “The Valencell team is exceptional, and as they engage with the clinical-grade blood pressure experts at SunTech, I’m certain together they’ll develop great new products for our customers.  We look at this agreement as a framework to innovate with them long into the future.”

New funding

In addition, Valencell today announced that it has secured financing from strategic investors led by Halma, with additional participation from existing investors Sonion, TDF Ventures, GII LLC, and WSJ Joshua Fund.

The exact terms of financing was not disclosed.

A representative from Halma will join the Valencell board of directors. Valencell said it plans to use the funds to accelerate investments in its biometric sensor systems, blood pressure technology, and sales growth.

“Valencell has established a strong position in the convergence of consumer wearables and health and medical devices with advanced sensor technology to measure everything from heart rate to blood pressure,” said Kent Novak, CEO, Valencell, in a statement. “With Halma leading the investment round, Valencell adds a new strategic partner with a large footprint in the health and medical sector, where Valencell is seeing great traction and opportunity. We look forward to working with our new and existing partners to expand Valencell core technology in the market.”

Valencell said continues to see global demand for highly accurate biometric sensor technology with significant growth in hearables, hearing aids and other wearable devices.

At CES 2020, Valencell recently launched the world’s first calibration-free blood pressure sensor system for hearables and wearables. Valencell’s technology has now been integrated into more than 50 different wearables and hearables that have come to market around the world. Valencell also has the most-cited patent portfolio in wearable PPG, which includes over 85 granted patents and more than 100 additional patents pending.

The market for wearable biometric sensors continues to rapidly expand largely driven by ear-based hearables.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) said it expects more than 273 million hearables to ship by 2023, showing 41.3 percent compound annual growth rate from 2019-2023. The wearables market as a whole is expected to ship nearly 500 million units by 2023.

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