Digital health business Medopad has rebranded itself as Huma and acquired two AI and wearable tech companies, reinforcing its mission to play a pioneering role in discovering digital biomarkers, an emerging category of medicine described by founder and CEO Dan Vahdat as a “game-changer”.
Vahdat said the company’s focus on insights gathered by remote monitoring to help healthcare, life sciences and innovation partners to understand, treat and prevent poor health sets it apart from other health tech businesses that are seeking ways to monetise data.
The acquisition of BioBeats with its flagship AI product BioBase, and Tarilian Laser Technologies (TLT) with its device-based blood pressure monitoring sensor, adds mental health and cardiovascular support to Huma’s remote patient monitoring platform.
Vahdat said that relaunching the company with a name that references its commitment to human patients during the coronavirus pandemic resonates with its mission to develop solutions that people can use, through collaboration and partnerships.
“Medopad has specialised in remote patient monitoring for patients with rare and chronic diseases,” he said. “Over time, we’ve realised that health is about more than disease states; it’s about general physical and mental wellbeing going hand in hand. The name Huma reflects our commitment to working with people, for people. It says that we’re for all of humanity.
“The whole COVID-19 situation has triggered new trends in terms of our understanding of the value of health data – and how we use it to manage and monitor treatments,” Vahdat said. “From such serious complications, the potential for apps to manage our digital health has really opened up.
“Digital biomarkers is such a new field that we wouldn’t be able to do it all ourselves. As a business, we have always based our development on partnership and collaboration. We’ve spent the last two or three years working with biomarkers and validating our approach without talking too much about it. Now is the right time. These acquisitions are a continuation of that and we will make more.”
He said Huma will also make an announcement about its approach to the COVID-19 pandemic in the coming weeks.
Consent-based data gathering
Vahdat said that the unrecorded data points generated by our bodies can open up new insights on people’s health, just as mapping and visualising the genome has done.
“These digital biomarkers may help tell us what causes disease, how it progresses, and potentially how we can prevent it,” he said. “BioBeats and TLT enable our partners to have a more holistic sense of people’s health and wellbeing through better data.”
He said that Huma’s consent-based approach to data gathering has been consistent throughout the company’s evolution since Medopad was created in 2011.
“We have always been committed to making solutions that people can use, and that will identify how their data might be used – so they can give their consent for it to be used in research, for example, or if they prefer, only shared with their doctor for their own treatment and care.
“Our approach is to give them a choice all the time they are using our platform. So each time something changes in the app as a result of their health status or treatment, they are asked again for their consent.”
Huma’s rebrand follows $50 million investment from Bayer, NWS Holdings and others and includes the appointment of former UK health minister Alan Millburn to board chair.