Sergio Dompé invests ten million euros to launch Movendo Technology, the IIT start-up specialised in robotic rehabilitation

Valentina Polini

To break even in three years, and have 100 employees in five years. The first industrial plant will be based in Genoa. Hunova-the first rehabilitative robotic platform – will be marketed from 2017 around the world, starting in Europe and the US. The platform, CE-Certified and shortly to be FDA certified, is already in use in several hospitals and rehabilitation centres in Italy. The first clinical trials are about to start in the US

MOVENDO Nuova macchina riabilitativa HUNOVA 3

Sergio Dompé, born in Milan in 1955 and Chairman of Dompé Pharmaceuticals Group, which has locations in the US and Europe, approximately 500 employees and investment in R&D of approximately 50 million euros per year, has signed an agreement with IIT – Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia – for the development of the IIT start-up Movendo Technology.

This agreement will be effective only after the 60 days observation period of the supervising Ministries of Economy and Finance (MEF) and of Education, University and Research (MIUR), as required by the legislation that regulates the IIT start-ups. For the first time, IIT will be part of the startup capital, following the recent change in IIT start-up regulations stated by the Italian Government (2015).

Sergio Dompé’s initial 10 million investment will serve to lay the foundations for the birth of a new high-tech, ‘made in Italy’ industrial entity. The new company will develop, manufacture and market innovative medical devices. The first production site will be based in Genoa, near IIT, where the first product (Hunova) will be assembled and then introduced to European and US markets.

Dompé investment is in line with the strategy of the industrial group, which strongly believes in innovation and currently invests 25% of its turnover in research and development.

Hunova will be mainly offered in clinics and physiotherapy, orthopedic, neurological, geriatric and sport rehabilitation centers. The market for robotic medical devices is growing rapidly around the world and is estimated to reach a total value of $5 billion over the next five years. The Business Plan envisages breaking even in 3 years with a total of 100 employees (starting from 30) in five years. IIT will have a share in the startup according to the investments made and will also perceive royalties on intellectual property of the devices sold on the market.

Movendo Technology is a start-up that was born from an idea of Simone Ungaro, Carlo Sanfilippo and Jody Saglia and from the work of a team comprised of 20 technicians and engineers. Movendo Technology will establish its first production facility in Genoa and, at the beginning of 2017, start the production and commercialisation of Hunova, a robotic platform for the rehabilitation and functional motor sense evaluation of lower limbs and trunk.

Hunova – whose technologies are covered by international patents granted in concession from IIT, and has already received CE certification for Europe and is about to obtain the FDA certification in the US – is a programmable robotic medical device able to support the physiotherapist in the treatment of ankle, knee, hip or spine. There are two main competitive advantages of this technology: Hunova is able to collect a significant amount of data on patient biomechanics, constantly monitoring his/her progresses and it provides direct support to the patient through a guiding robotic system, offering a wide range of rehabilitation protocols in the form of video games. It consists of two electromechanical platforms equipped with sensors, characterised by two degrees of freedom (feet and seat level). The device integrates the force sensors to adjust the interaction with the patient and a wireless sensor, located on the trunk of the subject, that allows you to check the patient’s torso movement. The exercises performed with Hunova are accompanied by interactive, graphic, videogame-like, simple applications, helping the patient to effectively complete the exercises.

Hunova extends, develops and optimises the traditional rehabilitative practices and provides objective parameters to evaluate the recovery of patients, allowing the personalisation of care, thus increasing the effectiveness of therapy.

The Hunova clinical trial on stroke patients (20 out of 30 expected patients) is currently in progress at the Hospital Santa Corona in Pietra Ligure Rehabilitation Center (Savona). Preliminary feedback from the medical staff and patients is positive.

Shortly, further clinical trials will start at the Galliera Hospital in Genoa in the orthopedics and geriatrics wards and at the INAIL (National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work) Motor Rehabilitation Centre in Volterra always in field of post-accident patients and orthopedics.

Contacts, information exchanges and collaborations with leading clinical centers in northern Europe and the USA are ongoing. These connections will help to initiate further trials and clinical validation for the optimisation and testing of the product by extending the potential fields of application.

The idea of Movendo Technology was established in the framework of a joint lab, established in 2013, between IIT and INAIL called Rehab Technologies. The joint lab, which will continue its R&D activities in collaboration with INAIL, is dealing with the development of prosthetic and orthotic devices. Currently the devices being built with INAIL are a light, robust and low cost robotic prosthetic hand and an exoskeleton that will help to walk or rehabilitate stroke patients with paralysis of the lower limbs.