Finnish company Nightingale Health has launched a consumer blood testing service as part of what it calls a “health-creation system” initiative focusing on prediction and prevention of chronic disease.
Not to be confused with Google’s Project Nightingale, the product tracks health indicators related to cardiovascular diseases and Type 2 diabetes. The company says it can estimate risk of disease up to 10 years in advance.
Called My Nightingale, the service, which comes with an app that presents users with a health index, showing their results in an accessible format, is currently available in Helsinki, Finland, where the company is opening so-called Nightingale Nests.
Users will be able to go to these locations to have their blood tests done, and Nightingale Health says it will expand in other regions outside its home country in the upcoming year.
“The availability of the technology will increase very quickly,” Teemu Suna, founder and chief executive, said at Slush, a startup event that took place in Helsinki last week.
WHY IT MATTERS
The launch signals a shift in the direction of the company, whose technology has been used in public health research following its founding in 2013.
At the event, the chief executive acknowledged that “pretty big changes” were coming. “We’ve been in R&D mode since starting this company, we have sold some research services for universities, but it’s of course [a] very different market. And we had this internal product launch, [where] one of our employees said to me that, 'Wow, this is a completely new company,' which is true.”
According to the founder, the team has been working for a number of years to obtain the regulatory approvals needed to provide the blood test “for healthcare diagnostics” in Europe. “We also have in Finland a permit to act as a healthcare provider,” he added.
With the introduction of the new service, Nightingale Health will now provide the blood tests as “health and wellness packages”. At the moment, a starter pack that includes two costs €79.
The company is also expected to launch subscription services in the future, as well as a new “way” for people to collect the blood samples themselves. “We expect that to launch over the next year, so it’s already in our lab, we know it works, but we want to still develop some of the details to make sure that it’s ready for mass scale,” Suna said.
THE LARGER TREND
In January, Nightingale Health revealed that it would receive €20m in EU financing, which the company said would match, to further develop its technology.
The announcement was soon followed by collaborations with the National University of Singapore, Imperial College London and, most recently, with Kirin Holdings and Mitsui to bring its services to Japan.
However, for many, a consumer blood testing product is sure to bring back memories of disgraced startup Theranos. But Suna dismissed the connection at Slush. “The difference is this actually works,” he said in response to a question from the audience.
ON THE RECORD
In a statement, the chief executive added: “We are giving individuals access to health information that was previously available only for scientists. That’s because our aim is to equip people with the best tools that can help them increase their health spans and live healthy lives.”