What is happening
Neuchatel Switzerland-Based aktiia, a startup developing a wearable blood pressure monitoring device, has just announced that it raised $4.1 million (4 CHF). The round was led by TransLink Capital and Redalpin, with participation from Sparks Street Capital, Christian Wenger, and Mladen Barbaric. According to Tobias Pforr, aktiia’s chief marketing officer, the latest funding will help staff develop and validate its product.
Why it matters
The company is in the process of developing a continuous blood pressure monitoring bracelet designed to help patients with hypertension. According to the CDC, hypertension affects one of three adults in the US, but only 54 percent of that has their blood pressure under control. Hypertension is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Pforr said the company is looking to make blood pressure checks less awkward and stressful for patients, and by doing so increase the accuracy of those measurements..
“We make blood pressure monitoring comfortable so the patients who use it won't feel anything, and with that can measure much more often and reduce the stigma that blood pressure [monitoring] holds,” Pforr told MobiHealthNews. “We make it possible to have continuous blood pressure monitoring. We analyze beat to beat so every time the heart pumps, we have very precise data on the blood pressure itself that gives us a tremendous amount of possibilities.”
The technology combines common optical sensors and software algorithms to measure an individual’s blood pressure, according to the company. It is made up of thre hardware and software components: the monitoring bracelet, the app that appears on a user's phone, and a cloud-based server that will give physicians access to a patient’s data.
Many in the industry have been looking to blood pressure monitoring systems that are an alternative to the cuff. In 2016 Philips Healthcare announced a suit of “clinically-validated” health monitoring devices, including a connected scale and blood pressure monitor.
Also in the space, Michigan State University announced that they developed a smartphone-based blood pressure monitoring system. The technology uses a 3D-printed phone case with a sensor, data acquisition and transmission circuitry, and a power supply that links onto the back of the smartphone.
On the record
“Hypertension impact 1 in 3 people. Half don’t even know they have it. We want to invest in raising awareness about hypertension,” Pforr said.