The UK-based startup Medopad has raised $25 million in a Series B funding round led by the pharmaceutical giant Bayer, to predict and track the development of chronic diseases using big data analysis, according to TechCrunch and VentureBeat.
With AI analysis of vast sets of data from wearable and mobile devices, Medopad’s app tracks “biomarkers” in patients that can predict the development of diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Medopad CEO Dan Vahdat told TechCrunch:
“For the past 25 years, we have been talking about connected healthcare, but no one has done it. The nature of the concept has just been too challenging. The approach is established but the computing and device technology weren’t able to detect and read these things outside of hospital settings.”
For example, a conventional Parkinson’s test that would normally require a 30-minute assessment in a doctor’s office can now be conducted digitally, using biomarkers collected from mobile devices.
The company announced a partnership last year, with the Chinese firm Tencent, to improve diagnostic accuracy for its Parkinson’s tests. Medopad has partnered with a range of tech firms, companies, and hospitals to develop trials for other diagnostics.
The company is now working with the pharmaceutical company Janssen to develop a verbal memory test on iPads which can detect early signs of Alzheimer’s. As with many chronic diseases, earlier detection can lead to better treatments and outcomes.
And Bayer, which is also now the startup’s lead investor, is working with Medopad to develop AI-based therapies for patients with Coronary Artery Disease (CAD).
Medopad was founded in London in 2011, and was among the first apps available on the Apple Watch in 2015. The company has already raised about $29 million, mostly during a Series A funding round in early 2018. Last year, it acquired the US medtech startup Sherbit.
The new funding will be used to continue research and development partnerships to “discover digital biomarkers and develop digital therapeutics,” according to a statement from the company.
Tech companies have increasingly come under scrutiny for their handling of user data, and given the personal nature of health data, Vahdat has offered assurances on privacy issues potentially raised by Medopad’s model. He’s said that all patient data is collected with consent, anonymized if shared with its partners, and won’t be transferred beyond the country where it’s collected.
According to Vahdat:
“Medopad has a bold mission to help people live their life to the fullest — one that requires long-term commitment and partnership to achieve.”
Photo by Emilykager [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]