Exo raises $40M for handheld ultrasound; decentralized trial platforms raise nearly $100M; and more digital health funding news

Also: Klara closes $15 million for digital patient engagement; Trellus Health collects $5 million seed funding and announces exclusive commercialization deal.
By Dave Muoio
02:24 pm

Exo, a Silicon Valley company known for its in-development handheld ultrasound device, announced $40 million in new funding yesterday. GlaxoSmithKline's Investor Action Potential Venture Capital fund was among the Series B+ round's unnamed investors.

Exo said in its announcement that it will be using the funds to wrap up product development for that device, and to bring its data and workflow apps to market.

"Exo is creating a platform technology that can drive true adoption of point of care imaging in emergency rooms and critical care units, can facilitate advanced surgical robotics and endoscopic procedures, and could enable therapeutic modalities in non-invasive neuromodulation and drug-delivery,” Juan-Pablo Mas, partner at Action Potential Venture Capital, said in a statement. “APVC is proud to support the team as they unwaveringly serve the healthcare professionals and patients whom this technology can benefit most."

Another $40 million raise was announced yesterday by decentralized clinical trial startup Science 37. The oversubscribed round was dominated by existing investors: Lux Capital, Redmile Group and PPD, Inc. led the raise, while Novartis, Amgen, Sanofi Ventures, GV and Glynn Capital also participated. New backers LifeSci Ventures and Mubadala Ventures took part as well.

Seeing momentum from trial sponsor customers interested in digital recruitment tools and BYOD support for participants, the company said these new funds will help support growth of its platform and its international business.

“The Science 37 mission to democratize clinical research by bringing trials directly to the patients is not only the right thing to do, but it also has had a clear, measurable impact on sponsors’ ability to access a more diverse patient population, accelerate research, and bring new medicines to the market faster,” David Coman, CEO of Science 37, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to have an incredibly strong, committed network of investors and plan to continue extending our leadership in the decentralized clinical trial market.”

Thread, which also specializes in decentralized clinical research technology, revealed last week that it had raised strategic capital commitments of up to $50 million from investors Water Street Healthcare Partners and JLL Partners.

The Durham, North Carolina company outlined a laundry list of goals for the new funds, which included expansion to more than 40 countries, development and implementation of COVID-19 clinical trial risk-mitigation tools, the introduction of features for its platform, and the provision of worldwide and multilingual customer support.

"Thread leads the industry with its knowledge and experience in decentralized trials. This newest investment marks the next phase in our long-term strategic plan,” Dr. Mark A. Goldberg, executive chairman of Thread, said in a statement.  “Working together with Water Street and JLL Partners, we are deeply committed to keeping Thread at the forefront of providing clients with innovative, high-quality decentralized solutions they can count on to safely bring new therapies to market faster.”

Bridge Connector, a vendor-agnostic healthcare interoperability startup, has closed a $25.5 million Series B financing round. Led by Axioma Ventures and joined by all of the company's prior backers, this raise now brings Bridge to a lifetime funding total of more than $45 million.

Highlighting its more than 1,000% year-over-year growth in 2019 and its recent collaborations with Epic, Allscripts and Salesforce, the startup said that it would be using the funds to support its increasing market share and its new Destinations "integration-platform-as-a-service."

“The company’s growth in the two years since has validated our belief in the technology and brightened the outlook for an interoperable health care system," Howard Jenkins, cofounding partner of Axioma Ventures, said in a statement. "With the company on track for 800% to 1,000% growth in 2020, we are eager to see how our continued investment will help Bridge Connector impact the industry and create a health care system that works better for patients.”

Klara, a digital patient messaging and engagement platform maker, has raised $15 million in a round co-led by Google's Gradient Ventures and First Cressey Ventures. FirstMark Capital, Lerer Hippeau, Project A and Stage 2 Capital also took part.

The company said that these funds will be used for new hires and improvements to its offerings. This includes additional capabilities and greater AI-based automation for patient intake and payments.

Trellus Health, maker of a connected care platform for treatment of chronic diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, has brought in $5 million in seed funding. Mount Sinai Health System and EKF Diagnostics led the investment.

The company did not specify an immediate goal for its new funds, but paired the funding announcement with news of an exclusive multiyear commercialization contract between the startup and Mount Sinai Health System.

"We are transforming the way chronic conditions are treated by developing a resilience-driven connected care platform that integrates precision medicine with psychosocial care," Monique Fayad, CEO of Trellus Health, said in a statement.

"The traditional journey of medical care for people living with chronic conditions typically results in repeated costly, unplanned emergency room visits and hospitalizations, high rates of work absenteeism and lost productivity, as well as chronic disability and behavioral health issues. We're working to change this by focusing on building patients' resilience while integrating all partners in care, including employers, insurance plans, health systems, Trellus-certified GI providers, nurses, psychologists, and dieticians who can utilize Trellus Health's proprietary platform to effectively monitor and communicate with patients and their caregivers in real time."


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