The company hopes to use the funding to complete development of its NICUtrition predictive analytics platform.

Astarte gets $5M to build technology for gut health in the NICU

By Jonah Comstock
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Astarte Medical, a Yardley, Pennsylvania digital health startup focusing on infant microbiome health, has raised a $5 million Series A from a large stable of investors including Viking Global Investors, Lunsford Capital, OCA Ventures, Keiretsu Forum MidAtlantic, Keiretsu Capital Fund, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Wing VC and Next Act Fund. This is the company's first institutional round, but it has particpated in at least three accelerators — MassChallenge HealthTech, Illumina Accelerator, and XLerate Health — and pitched at HIMSS and SxSW.

WHAT THEY DO

Astarte is building a suite of tools for the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) called NICUtrition. The software suite will be built on a proprietary database of feeding protocols, microbial profiles and clinical information which will power predictive analytics that can advise care teams on protocols and treatment plans. 

"We are thrilled to support Astarte Medical as they develop cutting-edge technology to solve some of the biggest problems for the smallest patients," Bruce Lunsford, chairman and CEO of Lunsford Capital, said in a statement. "With its first solution, the company is poised to make a difference for not just the preterm babies, but also for clinical teams in NICUs where it will help streamline the workflow and increase efficiencies. Astarte Medical is addressing the needs of a large and underserved market, and we look forward to seeing the company positively impact the industry, lowering healthcare costs and improving health for generations to come."

The company was founded by investors and entrepreneurs Tracy Warren and Tammi Jantzen along with NICU nurse Katherine Gregory who also serves as associate chief nursing officer for women's and newborn health at Brigham and Women's Hospital and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.       

WHAT IT'S FOR

The investment will be used to complete the development of NICUtrition.

"This funding will bring us one step closer to completing our suite of solutions to support unmet needs in the NICU to drive better preterm infant outcomes such as improved growth and minimized risk of infection," CEO Warren said in a statement. "NICU feeding protocols are complex and often tracked manually, causing clinical care teams to spend unnecessary time on documentation. Our first product to market will automate and streamline feeding protocols, enabling doctors and nurses to spend more time with their patients and parents."

MARKET SNAPSHOT

While we've covered startups tackling the NICU and startups tackling the microbiome, there aren't many companies looking at the intersection of the two. Recently NICU innovation has been the focus of the University of Virginia's Building HOPE projectresearchers from Northwestern working on wireless sensors, and startups Rapid Healthcare and NFANT Labs, which are both focused on NICU infant feeding technology.

On the microbiome side, it's been a rough time lately, with uBiome under investigation by the FDA and personal wellness service Arivale shutting down last week.

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