Medopad, a U.K.-based health technology startup that uses machine learning and big data analyses to help predict and manage chronic diseases in patients, has raised $25 million in a series B round of funding led by Leaps by Bayer, the VC arm of German pharmaceutical giant Bayer, with participation from NWS Holdings, Healthbox, among other investors.
Founded out of London in 2011, Medopad connects patients with a range of medical professionals with a view to “understand, treat, and ultimately prevent ill health,” as the company puts it. At the heart of its platform is an app that integrates health data from medical bodies as well as from mobile devices and wearables worn by patients, and through applying AI to the large datasets it said that it can generate predictive insights which may detect medical conditions.
“Medopad has a bold mission to help people live their life to the fullest — one that requires long-term commitment and partnership to achieve,” noted Medopad founder and CEO Dan Vahdat.
Medopad claims a number of high-profile partners from across the pharmaceutical, research, insurance, and technology realm. Back in 2015, Medopad was one of the first health apps available on the Apple Watch, where it was used by King’s College Hospital in London to monitor chemotherapy patients. And last year, Medopad announced a partnership with China’s Tencent to use AI for improving the diagnostic accuracy for diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. Part of this involves setting up a medical AI lab with a globally distributed team of 50 people working to develop “digital biomarkers and digital medicines” for China.
“Our joint Tencent / Medopad lab uses AI techniques to solve clinical problems such as motion disorder syndromes such as Parkinson’s disease, cancer, psoriasis and the early detection of heart failure,” said Dr. Wei Fan, executive director of Tencent Medical AI Labs.
Through remotely monitoring patients, health care professionals can track side effects of drugs and dosage, for example, while also negating the need to meet with patients in-person which can cut down on travel time. Additionally, the Medopad app can be used to solicit tests for conditions such as Pulmonary Hypertension, which is a form of high blood pressure that can affect the arteries in the lungs and heart. Such a test might include a standardized 6-minute walk test (6MWT) to measure symptoms, and asking quality-of-life questions.
A slew of digital health platforms have come to the fore in recent years, covering everything from fitness trackers, step counters, and sleep trackers, to sensors for monitoring heart-rate, heart rhythm, and blood pressure. Apple is investing heavily in health tracking tools enabled by the mass proliferation of iPhones and the Apple Watch, while Google too is ramping up its investment in the health sphere, evidenced recently by last week’s announcement that it planned to acquire Fitbit for more than $2 billion.
Combined, all these wearables and connected devices can create an incredible amount of data about individuals, which when used in the right way can go some way toward predicting health-related outcomes. These data points are what is known as digital biomarkers.
Prior to now, Medopad had raised around $29 million, the bulk of which came through its series A round nearly two yeas ago, and with another $25 million in the bank it said that it plans to support its continued development of clinical studies and pursue R&D projects with clinical and life science bodies to “discover digital biomarkers and develop digital therapeutics (DTx),” according to a statement issued by the company. It also plans to push its products and partnerships into more geographies globally.
Medopad has a number of existing clinical trials currently under way, including one with its latest lead investor Bayer Pharmaceuticals. Indeed, Bayer has signed up to access Medopad’s extensive hospital reach and analytics to develop AI-powered therapies for those with Coronary Artery Disease (CAD).
As with most other industries, AI is increasingly infiltrating the health care realm as medical researchers and professionals seek new ways to optimize treatments and bring new drugs to market more quickly. In the past month alone, Healx raised $56 million to further develop its AI platform to discover new drug treatments for rare diseases, while Viz.ai secured $50 million for AI that detects early signs of stroke. Elsewhere, Verisim Life recently closed a $5.2 million seed round to create AI-powered biosimulations that can replace animal drug-testing
Today, Medopad claims 100 employees spread across the U.K., North America, and Asia Pacific, and this in part was boosted by its first — and to date, only — acquisition. Indeed, last year Medopad snapped up U.S. rival Sherbit, which operated a similar business insofar as it leveraged personal data to uncover health insights through sensors, devices, and apps.
Medopad was previously touted as a unicorn in the making by KPMG, and while it has yet to achieve that status, its latest funding round with such a high-profile strategic backer puts it on a strong trajectory. A company spokesperson told VentureBeat that its valuation is now in the $200-$300 million range.
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