Vinehealth, a 2018-founded, London-based digital well being startup that’s constructed an app providing personalised assist for most cancers sufferers whereas additionally making it simpler to collect patient-reported end result (PRO) knowledge, together with for drug growth and scientific trials, has closed a $5.5 million seed spherical because it prepares to develop into the U.S.
The spherical, which co-founder and CTO Georgina Kirby describes as a “late seed” — forward of a deliberate Collection A “within the subsequent 12-18 months” — is led by Talis Capital with participation from earlier buyers Playfair Capital and Ascension.
A variety of angel buyers have additionally joined the spherical, together with Keith Gibbs, former CEO of AXA PPP Healthcare; Pam Garside, accomplice at Newhealth; Voyagers Well being-Tech Fund, led by David Rowan, founding editor of Wired; David Giampaolo, healthcare entrepreneur and founding father of PI Capital; Deepali Nangia, enterprise accomplice at Speedinvest and Atomico Angel; Faisal Mehmud, VP and former medical director of Bristol Myers Squibb; and KHP MedTech Improvements, a collaboration between King’s Faculty London, King’s Faculty Hospital NHS Basis Belief and Man’s and St Thomas’ NHS Belief.
The startup — which we billed as one “to look at” again in 2019 once we noticed the founders pitching at Entrepreneur First’s demo day — combines behavioral science and AI to ship well timed affected person assist and nudges (for issues like remedy reminders) to allow them to extra simply self-manage their therapy.
Vinehealth’s platform additionally acts as a channel by which sufferers will be remotely monitored by their clinicians as they supply suggestions on signs and report any therapy side-effects.
Thus far its app has been downloaded round 15,000 occasions since being made accessible in January 2020 — which Kirby confirms covers all utilization so far, so each for pure patient-support and for trials/analysis.
The patient-support app is obtainable free for most cancers sufferers to obtain themselves — at present accessible within the U.Okay. and Eire.
For pharma, Vinehealth supplies its platform as a software program as a service — supporting drug corporations in recruiting sufferers for trials and gathering PRO to assist with R&D and drug growth.
“We’ve been targeted on pharma for the reason that very starting and we’re getting plenty of traction there and seeing plenty of alternative,” mentioned Kirby. “The affected person assist program and the scientific trial are extraordinarily related [products]. … For pharma they’re completely different components of the drug growth course of however by way of the supply of software program, the issues that sufferers want all through that course of — it’s extraordinarily related. So we’ve actually narrowed all the way down to that life science providing.”
She confirms Vinehealth just isn’t taking place the procurement route of attempting to promote to healthcare companies immediately. So basically the concept is for all times sciences analysis to fund a free provision of the assist software program to sufferers. (Though it will possibly’t disclose any pharma buyer names as but.)
For monetization, it’s targeted on serving the wants of drug corporations, Vinehealth is equally eager to be seen as patient-centric — and needs its app to play a key clinician assist function that promotes higher affected person outcomes.
“We’ve got an online dashboard that’s accessible by any browser for clinicians and docs who need to have the ability to observe their sufferers remotely and do that by operating analysis research and even inside scientific trials,” mentioned Kirby. “These docs and nurses can see that knowledge in real-time however they’ll feed that into both applicable factors of the care pathway — clearly they’re not sitting there on the dashboard all day, however there could occasions at which it’s very helpful for them to see particular pink flags and have the ability to know which affected person to see first and likewise to know easy methods to make higher scientific selections utilizing that form of extra real-time knowledge — somewhat than the everyday [fortnightly or monthly catch up with a patient].”
“So it’s form of giving them that context and that wealthy longitudinal knowledge that they’ve by no means had,” she added.
Vinehealth has digitized the normal paper-based questionnaires that most cancers sufferers would sometimes be requested to fill in throughout a go to with their scientific crew to report their signs and supply any wider suggestions.
Its premise is that transferring that legacy course of to a devoted, user-friendly digital interface helps higher affected person self-management, therapy outcomes and improved high quality of life for folks dwelling with most cancers — given the relative ease of reporting knowledge by way of an app, mixed with the broader assist bundle it presents (it’s labored with charities Macmillan and Bowel Most cancers UK to produce assist content material to the app).
For instance, Kirby mentioned they use A/B testing and AI to configure personalised and well timed suggestions to floor applicable sources, in addition to to find out how finest to nudge and inspire sufferers to take drugs and handle what will be complicated remedy regimes for most cancers therapy.
Vinehealth’s app wrapper may also dole out optimistic suggestions to encourage sufferers to supply PRO.
Kirby factors to proof that when sufferers observe their PRO knowledge successfully, survival charges can enhance by as much as 20%. “Higher self-management can have such a big impact on survival,” she mentioned. “We need to present not solely enhancements in survival however in high quality of life. too.”
The mix of behavioral science and data-driven assist Vinehealth’s strategy entails stems from the mixed experience of the co-founders.
“Rayna’s [Patel; co-founder and CEO] background is absolutely in behavioral science; mine is in knowledge science,” mentioned Kirby. “And so once we got here collectively, we thought we are able to actually leverage either side right here — and use the information to grasp what individuals are going by and the place these nudges will be simplest. And use behavioral science to ship some actually key nudges on the proper time with the suitable wording that may actually nudge folks to construct their habits and have the ability to really feel extra in management and have the ability to truly perceive what’s happening and make some higher selections for their very own care.
“There are a variety of nudges within the app — some small ones, some greater ones. We construct remedy nudges and reminders to be delivered in a sure method that’s actually efficient and isn’t simply dismissed by sufferers. We’ve got nudges for logging sure signs and what that leads on to — so sure supportive content material. So that you’re logging nervousness at sure ranges, right here’s some supportive content material that would actually provide help to with coping with this specific symptom or aspect impact of your drug.”
“At completely different occasions it’s in regards to the timing, the wording and the supply of that nudge,” she added. “In the event you attempt to change too many issues directly analysis reveals that you simply don’t change something in any respect — so we’ve actually rigorously thought of how we nudge and the way we attempt to assist sufferers construct higher habits and the way typically we do this as effectively.”
Kirby says the aim — in time — can also be to make use of AI to include extra superior options into the platform sooner or later, resembling predictive symptom logging, i.e., “what’s more likely to happen for this specific drug for this specific affected person”.
For now, Vinehealth has constructed a content material recommender system that’s specialised in oncology and personalised to the affected person: tuned to their prognosis, adapting to their ongoing enter, and factoring in content material that different related sufferers are studying and discovering supportive.
On the analysis aspect, Kirby says the most important examine the platform has been used for so far is an ongoing examine involving 9 NHS Trusts and 300 sufferers — which is a chunk of analysis that Vinehealth is enterprise itself.
Well being knowledge is after all extremely delicate, and Kirby confirmed that consent for any third-party analysis functions is sought individually to the consent a person of the patient-support product is requested for in order that Vinehealth can course of their medical info to supply the service and provides them personalised therapy assist.
“That knowledge just isn’t shared with anyone — except they’ve [given] express consent to try this. By simply signing as much as the platform, they’re not consenting to sharing their knowledge as a part of a scientific trial. That may be a fully separate piece of consent,” she mentioned.
“We make it extraordinarily clear and don’t need to conceal any sharing in any method — it needs to be actually apparent and actually clear to a affected person. In the end everybody needs to assist sufferers. They need to give extra alternatives for sufferers to be in these scientific trials, to have the ability to seize that knowledge and feed that again in a method the place — usually they’re struggling at house with these form of unwanted effects and that’s by no means getting again to the pharma firm, for instance — so we’re making it actually clear what we’re doing and why we’re doing that and we give sufferers a selection.”
Kirby prompt that, sooner or later, the startup may additionally look to have the ability to present “correctly anonymized” knowledge units based mostly on purely aggregated insights offered by sufferers — so it’d, for instance, have the ability to spotlight demographic teams that have specific unwanted effects of sure medicine. Nonetheless, she added that that isn’t one thing it’s doing for the time being “given our deal with trials and affected person assist packages.”
Within the close to time period, Vinehealth is gearing up for development by way of a U.S. launch — which it hopes will occur “early subsequent 12 months” — with the 18-strong crew more likely to double over the following six months or so and its first U.S. rent already locked in.
“The primary factor that we’ve been targeted on since we fundraised is hiring an ideal crew and rising that crew and investing time in actually constructing that out and ensuring that everybody’s aligned on the mission and that we’re actually constructing out a product that’s scalable to have the ability to take into these new markets,” Kirby mentioned. “Constructing a startup is all about having nice folks. You may have nice expertise however if you happen to don’t have nice folks, you then don’t actually have something.”
Commenting on the seed funding in an announcement, Beatrice Aliprandi, principal at Talis Capital, mentioned: “We’re vastly excited to be partnering with Rayna and Georgina: We’d been retaining an in depth eye on Vinehealth’s development for a number of months earlier than we invested within the firm, given its distinctive worth proposition the place healthcare outcomes work in direct correlation with monetary outcomes. It’s a win-win-win for sufferers, hospitals and pharmaceutical corporations, which is never the case within the healthcare house the place events are sometimes at odds with each other.
“From our first assembly, the resilience and mission-driven angle of the founders was instantly clear and is absolutely what made this chance so compelling. Each Rayna and Georgina are clearly extremely pushed to enhance the lives and survival of most cancers sufferers, and as a crew they possess a novel mixture of experience, abilities, and drive to make Vinehealth successful.”