As much of the world looks impatiently to see if the vaccination rollout is helping to curb and possibly eradicate Covid-19, one of the companies that has helped manage the spread of the virus announces a big round of funding on the heels for high demand for its technology.
Huma, which combines biomarker data with predictive algorithms to both help monitor patients and uses the same technology to help researchers and pharmaceutical companies conduct clinical trials, closed a funding round of 130 million. dollars, a Series C that the company can expand to $ 200. million dollars through a $ 70 million debt line if she so chooses.
Huma can collect data that patients contribute through smartphones, or through diagnostic devices that measure glucose, blood pressure or oxygen saturation, and the plan will be to use the funding to increase this in several ways. : continue investing in R&D both expanding the types of biomarkers Huma can measure and working on more research and testing; to continue to develop the activities of Huma, based in London, in particular in new geographies such as the United States, in parallel with a strong wave of activities in Europe, in particular in the United Kingdom and in the DACH region.
Funding includes a number of high profile strategic and financial backers who talk about some of the opportunities available to you. Co-led by Leaps by Bayer, the VC division of the pharmaceutical and life sciences giant, and Hitachi Ventures, it also includes Samsung Next, Sony Innovation Fund by IGV (one of Sony’s investment funds), Unilever Ventures and HAT Technology & Innovation Fund, Nikesh Arora (former Chairman of SoftBank and former Director of Google) and Michael Diekmann (Chairman of Allianz) all in the round. Bayer also ran Huma’s $ 25 million Series B in 2019, when the startup was still called Medopad.
Medopad was renamed Huma last year in April, just as the Covid-19 pandemic was really spreading across the world. In the year that followed, CEO and Founder Dan Vahdat said the company was on a growth tear, working hard in the spectrum of areas where its technology could prove useful as it provides a bridge. to monitor patients remotely, at a time when it was much more difficult to see people in person.
“Last year, when the pandemic first hit, it made everyone’s life miserable not only from a health point of view, but also from a research aspect,” he said. -he declares. “The whole idea is how to decentralize care and research.”
His work included partnering with the NHS early on to ship around 1 million oxygen saturation devices to monitor changing patient levels, as it was discovered early on as a leading indicator of the need for care urgent medical care for a patient: This was an essential way of sorting out remote people at a time when hospitals were quickly overwhelmed with people. Vahdat said this directly helped reduce readmissions by a third.
He also plays a role in helping to monitor all of the many patients who were due for operations but found that they had been postponed. In the UK alone, 4.8 million people were awaiting their procedures, “a shocking number,” said Vahdat. How to manage this queue? The idea here, he said, is that when you’re a home patient waiting for heart surgery, your condition can deteriorate quickly. Or maybe not. Huma set up a system to provide diagnostics to these patients to monitor their condition: signs that they were not doing well meant that they would be moved and had to be seen by a specialist before they were they do not deteriorate and become urgent rather than managed cases. .
Along with this clinical work, Huma has also worked on a number of trials and research, including a Phase 4 study on one of the Covid-19 vaccines that has been distributed under emergency clearance (it is is a regulatory process that comes in the wake of this authorization).
It also continues to provide essential data for ongoing medical research. One study the company may disclose that is not directly related to Covid-19 is a cardiac study for Bayer; and one that is linked to Covid-19 – finding better biomarkers (especially by looking at digital phenotypes) to detect Covid-19 infections earlier – called the Cambridge Fenland study.
This long list of work has meant that Huma still has much of his B-Series in the bank, and so has also turned his attention to humanitarian work, giving resources to India and other countries still in the throes of their own Covid-19 crises. .
Although the startups that link the worlds of medicine and technology can be very long, the past year has not only shown how vital it is to invest in the smartest among them to see their ambitions for the greater good for all of us, but that when they have their breakthroughs it can turn out to be a huge thing for businesses and investors. BioNTech’s last year was nothing short of a stratospheric turnaround, from a loss-making company to one generating over $ 1 billion in profits last quarter thanks to its research into the Covid-19 vaccine and to his work with Pfizer.
It is for this reason that so many investors are keen to continue supporting companies like Huma and the information it provides.
“Aligned with Leaps by Bayer’s vision, Huma’s expertise and technology will help drive a global paradigm shift towards prevention and care and can spur research efforts using data and digital technology,” said Juergen Eckhardt, head of Leaps by Bayer, in a statement. . “We are investing in the most revolutionary technologies of our time that have the potential to change the world for the better. As the first investor in Huma, we know how well the company fits into this framework as one of the leading digital innovators in the fields of health and life sciences. “
“Huma has built a comprehensive remote patient monitoring platform and established a solid track record and we are excited to be working with Huma to bring its world leading healthcare technology to new markets in Asia. We believe that together we can advance new digital health products to improve care and research for all, ”added Keiji Kojima, executive vice president of Hitachi’s Smart Life division.