Skin cancer detection, care coordination take center stage at Health 2.0's Traction 2017 pitch competition

By Dave Muoio
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Miami-based DermaSensor and NYC-based Klara have been named the champion startups among a pool of roughly 80 companies participating in Traction, Health 2.0’s startup pitch competition. The former unveiled a portable, handheld, highly accurate skin cancer sensor, while the latter demonstrated a secure and centralized platform for medical communications.

Both companies were praised by judges for their potential to increase quality of care, reduce healthcare costs, improve user experiences, and lessen the burden on caregivers, all while having a feasible plan for future growth and rollout.

“This is one of the most exciting events at Health 2.0,” Bevey Miner, moderator of the event and chief marketing officer of Practice Fusion at Arizona State University, said during the event. “Once in a while you’ll see a new technology that’s trying to solve an old problem, and turn a big idea into something that’s really innovative. … We have these same problems over and over again, and it’s really encouraging to see how these startups are thinking about things a little bit differently.

Prior to the event, judges narrowed the field down to eight competitors: four whose pitches were aimed at consumers, and four targeting medical professionals. These finalists — all of whom were pre-Series A, seeking to raise between $2 million and $12 million — worked with the competition’s team of venture capital experts to hone their business plans. Each gave a five-minute presentation for a panel of judges at Health 2.0, followed by a five-minute question and answer session.

Miami-based DermaSensor develops skin cancer evaluation tools using proprietary spectroscopic and machine learning technologies. In his pitch, CEO Cody Simmons revealed his company’s handheld scanners, which he says are able to evaluate multiple lesions for melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma in less than a minute, and more accurately than other similar solutions. The company is designing one device for use in clinics, which will cost approximately $1,000 to manufacture, and one mobile-interfacing device for use by consumers, which he says would likely cost between $100 and $200 to manufacture.

In his presentation, Simmons noted the bumpy history of mobile skin cancer diagnosis platforms in the US, but said that the continued prevalence of these platforms in other markets demonstrates an appetite for this kind of technology. DermaSensor has had two presubmission meetings with FDA with another meeting planned in the next few months, and is on track for a CE mark for their platform, he said.

Klara’s web and mobile messaging tool enables medical practitioners to condense their communications into a single patient-centered platform. Care teams and providers can communicate via instant message with each other, across systems, with patients as well as with external referring healthcare professionals.

Along with its glowing feedback from providers and patients, CEO and Cofounder Simon Bolz said that his team’s secure and HIPAA-compliant platform has substantially cut down the amount of time providers spend calling and contacting patients. The service streamlines caregivers’ workloads, he said, and offers a strong return on its monthly fee of $150 per provider.

The other six finalists of the competition included:

DotLab, developer of a novel saliva-based diagnostic test for endometriosis;

Keona Health, whose platform collects patient DMR data, scheduling systems, and phone systems for call centers and nurses;

Exovite, creators of a 3D-printed splint that reduces patients’ rehabilitation time and can be printed within five minutes;

QMedic, who develops a voice-activated and wearable personal emergency response system that is bolstered by AI and machine learning;

Mediktor, whose Mediktor triage platform delivers pre-diagnosis and decision making assistance personalized for each user; and

YouScript, a prescription support platform that warns users of potential adverse drug-drug or drug-gene reactions, and delivers medication suggestions within a prescriber’s workflow.