Element Science, a San Francisco startup developing a wearable personal defibrillator, brought in $145.6 million in Series C funding earlier this month. Led by Deerfield Healthcare and Qiming Venture Partners USA, the raise also included new backers Cormorant Asset Management and Invus Opportunities, as well as prior supporters Third Rock Ventures and Google Ventures.
WHAT THEY DO
Headed by CEO, president and founder Dr. Uday Kumar, who also founded iRhythm Technologies, and former entrepreneur-in-residence at Third Rock Ventures, Element Science is currently conducting clinical testing on its primary product, the Jewel Patch Wearable Cardioverter Defibrillator.
The app-connected device is designed to be discreet and unobtrusive for the wearer. Using machine learning algorithms, the company says that its wearable is able to both detect and treat lethal heart rhythms that can lead to sudden cardiac death. In the U.S. alone, more than half a million patients are at an elevated temporary risk of these heart rhythms, which claim roughly 325,000 lives in the country per year, according to Element Science.
“Our next-generation digital wearable is a unique breakthrough in personalized digital healthcare based on years of extensive research and testing. The Jewel platform supports both therapeutic and diagnostic capabilities and is designed for ease of wearability to facilitate high compliance and efficacy,” Kumar said in a statement. “Given the broad potential for the Jewel platform to save and improve the lives of patients worldwide, we welcome the strong support of this impressive consortium of investors.”
WHAT IT'S FOR
These funds will continue to support clinical testing of the Jewel Patch product, and they should also go to planning and preparing the company for its eventual commercial release. In addition, the company said that it will be building out a modular family of Jewel devices for different clinical focus areas – for instance, treatment of sudden cardiac death in inpatient settings, or heart-failure-exacerbation diagnoses among those recently discharged.
A number of medical device companies and other healthcare organizations offer personal defibrillator devices commercially, although these tend to be bulkier than the Jewel Patch. More often than not they do not have a connected-health component. Meanwhile, the wearables that do check these boxes – such as the adhesive patches developed by Kumar's prior company – are generally focused on screening and diagnosis, but are unable to deliver treatment as well.
ON THE RECORD
“We believe that Element Science’s ability to apply cutting-edge principles of data science and patient-centered design holds great potential in disrupting the way these cardiovascular patients are monitored, diagnosed, and treated” Dr. Andrew ElBardissi, partner at Deerfield Management, said in a statement. “We are delighted to support the company as it works to bring life-saving therapies to patients, while changing the paradigm of treatment in multi-billion dollar global markets.”