Leo Innovation Lab invests $5.5M in five startups to drive development of digital tools for mental health, skin conditions and diagnostics

By Heather Mack
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Copenhagen, Denmark-based Leo Innovation Lab announced a $5.5 million Series A and seed funding round that will go to five startups around the world, ranging from mobile app makers to AI platform providers.

Leo Innovation Lab sprung out of Danish pharmaceutical company Leo Pharma in 2015 and was established to develop long-term strategies aimed at improving multiple aspects of everyday life for people with skin conditions. The company does not make any medications or devices, but focuses instead on working with a mix of healthcare and technology partners to create digital tools and add-ons for existing devices, drugs or software. For example, one of their products is a supportive app for people living with psoriasis called PsoHappy. It was developed after a survey of 4,000 revealed those living with psoriasis were unhappy up to 24 percent more often than those without the condition. Other projects include telehealth services, "citizen research" surveys, and symptom-checking apps.

The five companies to receive funding from Leo aren’t necessarily all focused on dermatology, but they offer resources aimed at helping patients and their physicians deal with health issues holistically, and could thus help those dealing with the lifestyle impact of skin conditions. The companies are:

Remedly, a San Francisco startup that makes integrated software for medical practices including EHRs, patient portals and analytics reporting. Leo’s funding will be used to improve patient care for dermatologists, plastic surgeons and medical spas.

Pacifica, also in San Francisco, makes digital tools for mental health issues including anxiety and depression. The company recently launched a dashboard for clinicians that will help them improve care efficiency and effectiveness.

UK-based TalkLife, a social network that works with Microsoft Resarch, MIT and Harvard to provide mental health support through a mix of machine learning and human interaction.

Dutch teledermatology company SkinVision, which offers a CE-certified app to assess skin cancer risk. Users take a picture of a mole or any other concerning marks on their skin and the app will assess, monitor and share information with their doctor.

Finnish diagnostics company Combinostics, which is developing data-driven clinical assessment software to improve diagnoses across a range of conditions.

"Digital disruption is happening in our market, and we intend to play a pivotal role in setting the agenda for pharma and healthcare innovation by helping startups hatch and commercialize new ideas," Leo Innovation Lab CEO Kristian Hart-Hansen said in a statement. "The companies chosen for seed investment were carefully selected for their ability to digitally disrupt the industry, and to align with our patient-centric vision and values about holistic healthcare."