Pharma giant AstraZeneca is teaming up with AliveCor, maker of artificial intelligence-enabled personal ECG devices, in an effort to study new ways of managing cardio, renal and metabolic issues.
The partnership will revolve around AliveCor’s Kardia-K AI, which is designed to analyze ECGs in order to measure a patient’s potassium levels without needing to draw blood from the patient. Specifically, the collaboration will zero in on how this technology can be used in real-world disease management and applications.
"By collaborating across industries, AliveCor is leading the way in the development of non- invasive, more accessible medical solutions for patients and health organizations worldwide," said Aman Bhatti, Head of BioPharma Relationships at AliveCor. "Our collaboration with AstraZeneca exemplifies how pharmaceutical and digital health companies can work together to drive the future of medicine."
WHY IT MATTERS
Potassium levels are linked to potential issues with the kidneys. Chronic kidney disease is relatively common in the United States. In fact, 15% of adults in the U.S. are estimated to have chronic kidney disease, or about 37 million people, according to the CDC.
The agency explains that some of the health consequences associated with the condition are anemia and low blood-cell count, an increase in infections, and depression.
THE LARGER TREND
AliveCor is best known for its mobile ECG device. In February, the company updated the capabilities of its devices to identify three additional types of heart conditions: Sinus rhythm with supraventricular ectopy (SVE), sinus rhythm with premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) and sinus rhythm with wide QRS.
The company is also particularly well-funded. In November the company announced a $65 million Series E round.
AstraZeneca is no stranger to digital health partners. In fact, the pharma company has previously teamed up with Renalytix AI in order to improve kidney disease outcomes.
Beyond the kidney care space, AstraZeneca has also worked with digital startups in respiratory and cardiac care. For example, it worked with Propeller Health to pair its Symbicort inhaler with the startup's sensor and app.