Thousands of startups and emerging companies are constantly trying to develop innovative technologies to improve the world’s health and how we monitor it. Amidst all of this, one small Maltese company has impressed everyone… and even attracted one of the biggest players in the medical technology world.
Umana Medical Technology is a story of Maltese success in the times of COVID-19, a delicate and turbulent time where insight and being ahead of the curve has gone a very long way. The Maltese company has been acquired by Gpi Group, a leader in information systems and health and social care, and it’s all thanks to their impressive wearable health technology.
Umana’s crowning tech jewel is the SmarterSkin Sensor and accompanying T1 heart monitor. Put quite simply, this is a sensor that looks – and essentially is – a tattoo.
The “tattoo sensor” has a number of pros. Firstly, it ensures the accuracy and quality of the data collected. Reliable information on heart and respiratory rate, fall detection and atrial fibrillation can be collected from this one sensor. After it’s extracted, the data is sent for analysis on a cloud platform which uses pattern recognition techniques to alert the user in case of any abnormal readings.
But beyond all that, there’s the even more basic pro of comfort to consider. Doing away with the need for cumbersome and irritating skin patches, the sensor acts like a second skin… because it practically is! Solving the problem of many traditional wearable devices that are annoying to the wearer due to their size and use, these sensors are therefore great and useful.
The COVID-19 pandemic might’ve wrecked havoc worldwide, but for Umana it was the perfect opportunity to ramp up their disruptive and essential medical technology.
Collaborating closely with Gpi in Italy during the worst patch of the pandemic, Umana developed a strong relationship with the Italian giant over the past year. But it was amidst the spread of COVID-19 that the two really ramped up their efforts.
Thanks to the collaboration (where Umana worked on the hardware and Gpi on the software), an innovative system that allowed health professionals to monitor COVID-19 patients from their homes and in real time stopped being a mere dream and became a super useful reality.
“The health crisis in Italy has given new space to the partnership between Gpi and Umana,” explained CEO and co-founder Adrian Attard Trevisan. “The synergy was immediately evident: we realized on the field that our visions and our objectives coincide. Today’s operation opens an exciting new chapter in the life of Umana Medical Technologies.”
“Joining the Gpi Group testifies to the excellence of the product our team has worked on: joining a large Group will encourage the continuous and exponential growth that we have experienced in the past three years.”
Gpi Group has over 30 years worth of history listed on the Borsa di Milano, but much like the rest of the world, the Italian multinational had yet to face a challenge such as that posted by COVID-19 earlier this year. It’s here that the Maltese company stepped in to help… impressing the Italian group so much that it ended up buying Umana outright.
With even more revolutionary products in the pipeline, Umana has drawn the kudos of many… earning it the title of one of the best healthtech startups out there right now.
The Maltese company has been recognised internationally, occupying one of the coveted top 30 spots of start-ups offering disruptive technologies and innovative business models by worldwide observatory StartUs Insights. And the total number of start-ups was nothing to shrug off either; some 10,000 companies were considered in the analysis.
“A successful young start-up like Umana can make a significant contribution to our industrial project, imparting a precious ‘visionary’ dimension, the lifeblood for imagining a different and possible future,” President and CEO of the GPI Group Fausto Manzana said of the acquisition.
“In Umana, we see the same foresight and the same passion for healthcare that have shaped the history of Gpi in its 30 years of life.”
But Umana’s amazing tattoo sensor is just the beginning…
An ongoing process of certification for a new product is currently underway.
The project will reportedly use needle-less technology to achieve continuous monitoring of glucose levels, a product that again will prove to be as useful to experts as it is convenient to the people who will need to make use of it.
2020 has proven to be full of hurdles and hiccups, but it’s companies like Umana that have shone bright in their ability to provide new solutions to new problems.