Photo: Sedivention

Sedivention: Novel therapy for obesity

The Munich-based medtech company Sedivention wants to facilitate the treatment of obesity with a new type of catheter - an approach with which the company was already able to convince at this year's Munich Business Plan Competition, among others. The startup founded in 2021 by Ute Nollert, Stéphane Delaloye and André Burch wants to tackle the 'hunger nerve' and why this treatment method can become a real game changer for sufferers, the founders report in an interview.

Munich Startup: What does your startup do? What problem do you solve?

Sedivention: One in five Europeans is affected by obesity today. By 2030, it is estimated that there will be 1.5 billion severely overweight people worldwide with a Body Mass Index of more than 30 kg/m2. These people are often ostracised and laughed at. And they suffer from the secondary diseases diabetes, hypertension or cancer. They cannot simply lose weight through more discipline, diet and exercise, because after a certain point, obesity leads to a regulatory disorder of the sense of hunger and satiety with persistent, insatiable hunger.

Patients lose hunger

We are developing a medical device that is inserted into the stomach, similar to a gastroscopy, and scleroses the nerve branches there that conduct this exaggerated feeling of hunger to the brain. The effect is that patients lose their hunger and can then lose weight. The drug Wegowy, which Elon Musk has promoted, works similarly in principle, only via the bloodstream and not via the nerves.

Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!

Sedivention: There are drugs, intragastric balloons and surgical procedures for stomach reduction. What does not yet exist and what our device will be able to do: A one-time, minimally invasive, long-acting reduction of the feeling of hunger without medication, without implant, without surgery. The procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis by all specialists for gastrointestinal diseases in the practice – just like a gastroscopy.

Munich Startup: What’s your founding story?

Sedivention: We are an experienced team of doctors, engineers, managers. We know each other from our previous professional careers and would now like to create something completely new together. In doing so, we thought about: What is the biggest unsolved health problem of mankind for which there is still no good treatment option? And that is obesity.

Munich Startup: What have been your biggest challenges so far?

Sedivention: Finding investors for a startup that is still in its early stages. We are not a spin-off of a university and had to use our own funds for research from the beginning. On the other hand, our team has a lot of experience with the development of medical products, knows the regulatory processes and the patents are ours.

Therapy deployment in five years

Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, where in five years?

Sedivention: In one year, we want to have further developed our prototype towards a clinically usable product that can be produced in series. In five years, the first studies should be completed and the catheter should be on the market. After winning startup competitions and prizes, we have already received a lot of mail from patients with obesity who are very hopeful about our medical device. In five years, their hopes will be fulfilled and the device will be available for treatment.

Munich Startup: How have you experienced Munich as a startup location so far?

Sedivention: Wonderful. We have contacts / collaborations with both universities and are very grateful for the great support and funding from Bayern Innovativ, Baystartup, BioM, UnternehmerTUM, Bayern Kapital and the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs. But we also owe a lot to HTGF and Science4Life from Hesse. There are many startups in the Munich area and we are happy about many invitations to events where you can learn a lot and make a lot of contacts.

Munich Startup: Hidden Champion or Shooting Star?

Sedivention: We hope to be both, but at the moment maybe better game changer.