D3 Innovation Center, Montreal, Canada
info@encapcell.com

At the Cutting Edge of Medical Technology

Encapcell is committed to improving extracorporeal circulatory treatments.

ABOUT ENCAPCELL

Encapcell Technologies is a medical startup based in Montreal, Canada. Our mission is to redefine how dialysis treatments are being conducted in order to improve patient health outcomes and meet their needs with our proprietary blood filtration technology.

Kidney Failure

The kidney’s main responsibility is to clean blood. Our kidneys filter about 150 liters of blood per day and produce approximately one liter of urine. Renal failure occurs when the kidney filtration rate drops to a significant extent from their normal function. Kidney failure can be acute, such as in a crush injury, or chronic, when a patient’s renal function deteriorates over time.

The incidence of kidney failure has increased in recent years, partially due to an increase in obesity, hypertension and diabetes, where patients have a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD). There are five stages of CKD: in the early stages, patients are usually asymptomatic, which makes early detection very challenging. As the condition progresses, patients reach the final stage called end stage renal disease (ESRD) and must undergo one of the three treatment options to replace the function of their kidneys.

Current renal replacement therapies (RRT) include hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis or transplantation. Since the body’s blood filtration mechanism is disrupted, patients start accumulating solutes in the blood, which become toxic unless dialysis is performed. For instance, there is an increase in secondary metabolites, proteins and other molecules that significantly increase patient mortality and morbidity.

HEMODIALYSIS

Hemodialysis is the most common form of RRT, used by approximately 90% of patiets. This method consists of using an external machine to filter blood. Patients have to go to a dialysis center three times a week for treatment. 

PERITONEAL DIALYSIS

Peritoneal dialysis is another form of dialysis that filters blood using the abdominal caviy. This method enables the patient to self-administer, however, many patients are not good candidates for this treatment.

TRANSPLANTATION

A renal transplant is the optimal solution for kidney failure. However, there are not enough kidney donors for the amount of patients with kidney failure. Also, not all kidney failure patients are candidates for a transplant.

Our Technology

Our scientists are currently developing a nanostructured polymer material that will serve as the basis of our filtration technology. By assembling specific molecular nanostructures on a polymer support, the material will gain specific proprieties that are directly applicable to extracorporeal treatments of various diseases, including kidney failure. Using the principles of hemoperfusion, the technology will allow us to increase the clerance of specific blood solutes and the portability of our dialysis machine.

Targeted Adsorption

The nanostructured material is designed to be biocompatible with high adsorptive capacity towards a specific category of blood molecules that are poorly filtered by current dialysis technology.

Reusability

Since the material was conceptualized with cost-effectiveness in mind, our engineering team is building a cleaning mechanism to wash and disinfect the sorbent cartridge. As such, patients could reuse the same cartridge multiple times before discarding it.

Dialysis Device

Our device does not require the use of dialysate. Thus, infrastructure change for water purification is not required to install the machine. The device is designed with stringent safety features, such that both patients and their caregivers can relax during the course of the treatment. 

Portability

By using a new approach to treat kidney failure, our device’s light weight and compact features enable its portability. Patients will be able to carry it with them, whether to work or on travel, thus reducing the binding pain of dialysis schedules. 

Our Story

HOW WE STARTED

Encapcell began under the name of Dialysave, with the goal of improving access to dialysis worldwide. Anya Pogharian designed and built the first two prototypes, which were much less expensive than current machines. 

WORKING PROTOTYPE

Anya tested her second prototype with a blood bag in a laboratory at Héma-Quebec, the province’s blood donation organization. Her findings showed that an inexpensive machine can filter out important waste molecules from human blood as efficiently as current machines.

MEDIA

Anya was granted significant media attention for her achievement in building the machine. She was notably featured in Fortune Magazine, Huffington Post, and spoke at a TED Talk. Local Montreal media also covered Anya’s story extensively. In January 2016, she participated in a panel discussion alongside President Bill Clinton and Dr. Vivek Murthy for the Clinton Foundation’s Health Matters Initiative. 

VISION

Since then, Anya put together a team and founded Encapcell Technologies with Vivian, Shawana and Alex. After going through McGill’s Dobson Cup and the X-1 Accelerator, the company pivoted to take on a more innovative approach to dialysis and to focus on improving the technology. The team is currently working with Concordia University’s Innovation Center (District 3) to make this possible.

Our Team

We have an interdisciplinary team with backgrounds in science, engineering and business.

Anya Pogharian

Co-Founder & CEO

Vivian Eberle

Co-Founder & COO

Shawana Habib

Co-Founder & CTO

Radu Alexandru Paun

Co-Founder & CSO

Chris Liczner

Lead Chemist

Our Advisors

We are backed by a group of advisors with backgrounds in medical technology and healthcare business. 

Soula Chronopoulos

President at Ellicom

Over 20 years of experience in leadership roles for various companies, including A.D.A.M. Health (Vice-President), Taimma Communications (CEO & Founder) and IC Axon (Vice President).

Dr. Mark Driscoll, P.Eng, PhD

Professor at McGill University

Biomedical engineer with extensive experience in bringing medical devices to market. Dr. Driscoll is currently an Executive Board Member of Spinologics Inc., a company that he founded.

Dr. Murray Vasilevsky, MD

Nephrologist, Montreal General Hospital (MGH)

With over 30 years of experience in nephrology, Dr.Vasilevsky is the Clinical Site Director at the MGH. He has experience in clinical trials for dialysis patients and in caring for remote dialysis patients.

Dr. Mark Lipman, MD

Chief of the Division of Nephrology, Jewish General Hospital

As an active researcher in various fields of nephrology, Dr. Mark Lipman is the Senior Investigator at the Lady Davis Institute, and an Associate Professor at McGill’s Faculty of Medicine.