Leo Pharma leads $3.4M investment in melanoma app SkinVision

By Brian Dolan
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SkinVisionAmsterdam-based dermatology app company SkinVision has raised $3.4 million from pharmaceutical company Leo Pharma with contributions from SkinVision's existing investor and majority stakeholder Dutch investment firm Personal Health Solutions Capital. The complany plans to use the funding to move its app's capabilities beyond melanoma recognition and into other skin conditions, according to a report in TechCrunch.

“The internet is dramatically changing how consumers manage their health and that creates new opportunities for us to deliver innovative, value-added services," Leo Pharma SVP of Global Development Kim Kjoeller told TechCrunch in a statement. "We are very pleased to collaborate with SkinVision, because we will gain unique learnings about the convergence of digital technologies with medical applications. The coming years will see an ever changing and increasingly digital health care environment and Leo Pharma wants to be at the forefront of that trend. This is a huge opportunity for the European technology and pharmaceutical industries to become world leaders.”

When SkinVision first launched in 2011, it was known as Skin Scan and it instructed users to take photos of their moles and upload them to Skin Scan’s servers for analysis. The latest version of SkinVision isn't too different in terms of basic functionality. Once a user takes an image of a mole, the app then provides a melanoma risk rating for the mole (red, yellow, or green) and highlights any abnormalities that it can detect in the lesion. 

SkinVision has a CE Mark in Europe and is available there and in other countries where that regulatory clearance is recognized. The app is not available in the US-version of the App Store, however.

SkinVision makes money by charging users subscription fees for full access to its app. It charges about $6 for one month or about $12 for three. An annual subscription runs about $30. The company says the subscription plans are the reason its app has such low ratings on Apple's and Google's app stores -- consumers aren't happy to pay for health apps.

The company also expects to use the new funding to move into new geographical markets.

Coincidentally, last week the FTC announced that it had settled up -- finally -- with one of the publishers of a different dermatology app, Mole Detective. Avrom Lasarow's company L Health had acquired Mole Detective from another company and continued marketing it as a melanoma detection app. When the FTC fined the creators of Mole Detective and another similar app last summer, Lasarow contested the complaint. This month the FTC and Lasarow arrived at an agreement that a $58,000 fine would be suspended because Lasarow couldn't afford to pay it.