LionsGate Technologies raises $2M for smartphone-enabled pulse oximeter

By Aditi Pai

PhoneOximeterToronto, Canada-based mobile health company LionsGate Technologies (LGTMedical) raised $2 million to develop and test its smartphone attached pulse oximeter, called Phone Oximeter, according to a press release. Vancouver-based Coleco Investments CEO Irfhan Rajani invested $1 million and Grand Challenges Canada awarded LionsGate a $1 million grant.

Phone Oximeter is a small device that attaches to a smartphone and connects to a companion app. Users can put their finger on the end of the device to get blood oxygen level readings. The app will also offer a predictive score that can alert a pregnant women as to whether she is is at risk for complications because of high blood pressure -- pre-eclampsia.

The money Grand Challenges Canada contributed was from a fund created out of a strategic partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD).

"Our government is promoting innovative approaches to addressing the world's most urgent needs in both global health and international development, including leveraging private sector investment and partnerships that focus on results," Canadian Minister of International Development and La Francophonie Christian Paradis said in a statement.

He added that the investment will fit with the Muskoka Initiative, which was created to help mothers and children in developing countries have better access to healthcare.

While the device is currently not for sale, the company expects it to be priced at $40. The company is testing Phone Oximeter on athletes in training and will begin longer clinical trials to test its predictive score feature for pre-eclampsia with 80,000 women in India, Pakistan, Mozambique and Nigeria.

Pulse oximeters currently on the market that have been FDA cleared include Nonin's fingertip pulse oximeter, which was announced in May 2013, and iHealth's pulse ox, which was announced in October 2013.