We wrote earlier this year about Singapore-based AWAK Technologieswearable dialysis device for patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). AWAK was back in the news this year, with continued positive results from clinical studies and an FDA breakthrough technology designation. AWAK recently announced funding for end-stage clinical testing and to accelerate the AWAK wearable’s progress to commercialization.

Dialysis requires fresh dialysate to operate, which requires large-capacity machines when using conventional technology. The AWAK wearable uses sorbent technology to remove uremic toxins from used dialysis fluids, producing fresh dialysate that can then be reused. Because the AWAK technology recycles the fluid, patients don’t need to travel to a fixed location to sit by a machine for hours on end. The portable dialysis machine weighs less than 2 kg (4.4 pounds) and is small enough that patients can carry it with them during the day or use it while they sleep.

It would be wonderful if the huge investment chunk could speed up testing, regulatory approvals, and all the stages along the way, but it sounds like the time until the commercial product release remains 2 to 3 years away, at a minimum — and that’s if all goes well. AWAK expects the final stage study will start in the next 12-to-18 months.

AWAK’s portable, dialysis-as-you-go technology has an incredible chance to change the lives and health care system resource burden of patients with ESRD. Targeting the current $80 billion annual global dialysis expense, AWAK and its investors cite the disruptive impact that this technology could have on the entire market. We are enthused about AWAK’s portable dialysis also because, similar to the advances in closed-loop artificial pancreas function for people with diabetes, it has the potential to greatly improve the quality of life for patients with a serious chronic condition.