Ayogo raises $2.5M for customizable patient engagement app

By Aditi Pai
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DiabestiesVancouver-based Ayogo has raised $2.5 million from Merck Global Health Innovation Fund (GHI), Excel Venture Management, and 7Wire Ventures for it's patient engagement offering, an app called Empower.

The app, designed for providers and pharma companies, helps patients with chronic conditions stick to their care plans. Patients can use the app to set their own goals, track their health and medication, read health content, and receive reminders specific to their condition. Patients are also awarded points and badges for completing activities.

“People living with chronic conditions often need to make very difficult changes to their lives, attitudes, routines,” Ayogo CEO Michael Fergusson said in a statement. “To support this herculean effort, they get six to 10 hours per year with their healthcare provider. Our mission is to be there, empowering them for the other 8,750 hours.”

Each Empower program is customized for the pharma company or provider's patient populations. On top of the basic features, the organization using Empower can add virtual coaching, minigames, and social features. Ayogo has previously adapted the platform for patients dealing with type 2 diabetes, obesity and bariatric surgery preparation, insomnia, and illnesses subject to injection fatigue.

So far, Ayogo has worked with Sanofi, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, and Boehringer Ingelheim.

The app Ayogo created for Sanofi, which Fergussen spoke about in 2012, is a game for children with diabetes called “Monster Manor". The game rewards kids for checking their blood glucose regularly with short minigames that add up to unlock features and characters. It automatically sends the results to the parents’ smartphone, and has a back-end portal which parents can use to give kids rewards directly through the game.

In 2013, Fergusson also spoke about Ayogo’s peer-to-peer diabetes adherence support network for college students called Diabesties. The social network allows two friends to track all of their blood glucose information with a diabetes tracking tool so that they can support one another through private, secure, one-to-one conversations.