At Healthcare Weekly, we take innovations from healthcare startups very seriously.
Whether it’s a new service, physical product, or software company, we stay up-to-date in everything to do with healthtech so we are always on top of our game.
Over the last month, we reviewed more than 200 healthcare startups that have received funding or announced major initiatives in 2020 and put together a list of our top 38 healthcare startups to watch.
Any of these amazing healthcare startups might just become the next big thing.
Companies in this list are ranked in two categories: healthcare startups redefining drug discovery and healthtech software companies.
Verge Genomics, co-founded by Alice Zhang and Jason Chen, tops our list of best healthcare startups to watch for in 2019. Verge Genomics is working on saving lives by streamlining the medical trial process. Every year, billions of dollars are wasted on testing drugs that do not work. It is estimated that to successfully place a drug on the market, 1.3 billion dollars are spent on R&D and FDA approval. Verge Genomics employs a unique approach that uses artificial intelligence to determine which drugs have a higher likelihood of success. With their innovative approach, the company plans to help big pharma better determine which drugs to advance through the FDA approval process and which to abandon because they are unlikely to succeed.
Company website: Verge Genomics
HealX develops new drugs and treatments for rare diseases using artificial intelligence to examine the current universe of existing drugs in order to repurpose them for curing rare diseases. The technology HealX employs has already proven successful when the company was able to develop a drug for Fragile-X in less than 18 months, making it ready for clinical trials in record time. In one specific instance, it took HealX 80% less time to get to human trials than the average drug manufacturer, making HealX one of the most innovative healthcare startups today. The company owns HealNet, one of the world’s largest, most complex databases for rare diseases. HealX claims their database includes more than one billion unique documented interactions between rare diseases, patients and previously used drugs.
Company website: HealX
Embleema has recently launched a HIPAA compliant healthcare blockchain network which allows patients to access and share their medical records with researchers and physicians. In addition, the new solution helps patients consolidate their data and even profit from sharing it with different entities such as drug researchers, marketing agencies etc. Patients using the platform can be paid in cryptocurrency in exchange for sharing their medical data with researchers. Embleema’s breakthrough technology could well be a victory for patients and researchers everywhere while rocking the healthcare medical data industry.
Company website: Embleema
Combining state-of-the-art antibody technology and recent discoveries in neuroimmunology Alector is on a mission to combat neurodegenerative diseases. According to Pitchbook, “The company’s antibody technology generates and validates antibody drugs with functional properties that engage disease-altering targets and develops novel therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, enabling physicians to harness the immune system to fight dementia and neurodegeneration.” CEO Arnon Rosenthal hopes that his solution will strengthen and revitalize immune cells to help fight, and possibly cure, these diseases. Alector’s current focus is on combating Alzheimer’s by developing antibody therapies that could help prevent neurodegeneration.
Company website: Alector
Using artificial intelligence to decipher molecular processes associated with specific diseases, BenevolentAI is able to pair drug treatments with the proper patients. Currently, the company is able to determine how to better treat and hopefully cure diseases that have been unresponsive to treatments. The BenevolentAI platform is being used to develop therapies for incurable diseases such as motor neuron disease, Parkinson’s disease, glioblastoma and sarcopenia. Having designed more than 20 drug programs, the company recently announced its intention to innovate in other areas of expertise, such as advanced materials, agriculture and energy storage.
Company website: BenevolentAI
K is a free, HIPAA-compliant AI healthcare app (available on both iOS and Android) that collects anonymous information from users about their medical background and chronic conditions. By analyzing data from hundreds of thousands of patients in their anonymous database, the app uses artificial intelligence to provide lay people with insights and tips on how to better manage their medical conditions. Any user can enter symptoms and ailments on the app to see a list of potential diagnoses. Most importantly, based on the information entered, users are shown the option to connect with appropriate specialists in their local area. With more than one third of internet users using the internet to diagnose medical conditions, this database is a game changer for hundreds of millions of people all over the world.
Company Website: K Health
Hu-manity.co allows users to sell their patient data to big pharma directly by cutting the middleman. The company’s mission is to create a “new decentralized human right” using proprietary technology on top of blockchain and to declare the ability to sell one’s medical data the 31st human right. Hu-manity.co is launching a new mobile app that will allow users to sell or lease their medical data for medical research or marketing purposes. Each person can create his/her own medical profile searchable by pharma researchers looking for specific people to participate in studies or medical trials. The platform allows users to be paid for their data and participation directly within the app. If successful, Hu-manity.co will greatly increase transparency within the medical records marketplace.
Company website: Hu-manity
With 16 billion records for 185 million patients, the Prognos Registry is the largest integrated database of multi-sourced clinical diagnostics data. Prognos aggregates, normalizes, and provides a clinical interpretation of clinical diagnostics data using HIPAA-compliant infrastructure. It is cross-linkable to prescription and claims data. This Artificial Intelligence platform uses clinical algorithms across more than 30 conditions to enable early prediction of disease onset, plot therapy needs, present clinical trial opportunities, reveal care gaps, and indicate risk. These resources can be combined to provide alerts that help get the best treatments to patients at the earliest possible time, improve case management and speed advances in clinical studies.
Company website: Prognos
Like Prognos, Tempus hopes to make data from previous patients serve current ones. Tempus has built “the world’s largest library of clinical and molecular data” along with an operating system to “make the data accessible and useful, starting with cancer”. Both researchers and doctors can benefit from this collection. Researchers can use it to reveal patterns in diseases and their treatments. Doctors can use it to tailor cancer treatment for each individual patient.
Company website: Tempus
Prellis Biologics has built holographic 3D laser printing technology that makes production of lab-grown, biocompatible human organs and tissues possible. The ability to build complex vascularized tissue in the laboratory setting has numerous applications that range from improving research and development of novel therapeutics to reproducing an organ from a patient’s own cells. These organs relieve pressure on those who ‘harvest’ organs and might possibly shorten, or even eradicate, organ donation wait lists.
Company website: Prellis Biologics
Neolight is creating new empathetically-designed baby-centered devices to treat infants with life-threatening conditions. Their first product, the Skylife Phototherapy system, is a portable high-intensity blue light-emitting device to treat neonatal jaundice, a frequent condition in newborns. The device includes the ability to adjust light intensity, ensures uniform light coverage, and emits virtually no heat. It can easily be used in neonatal enclosures, such as bassinets or incubators and is easy to transport.
Company website: Neolight
With novel deep learning algorithms, recurrent neural networks, and generative models that are able to learn efficiently from visual and clinical data, Paige is using information from ‘tens of thousands of pathology slides’ to change the clinical diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The company is currently developing disease-specific modules to aid these processes. All of this data can be employed by medical professionals to more accurately assess and plan treatment.
Company Website: Paige
Freenome uses a simple blood test run through its AI genomic platform to measure cell-free biomarkers and circulating proteins that indicate the presence, type, and stage of cancer. These very first signs of cancer were previously unavailable. Freenome can also indicate the type of tumors present so medical practitioners can make better treatment selections. Using Freenome technology, screening for the presence of cancer and determining the best treatment may soon become part of standard checkups.
Company website: Freenome
Flatiron Health is a medical technology and services provider. Using anonymized data from patients, laboratories, research repositories, and payer networks, among others, the company is a major resource for anyone involved in oncology research. Using its massive Oncono Cloud database, which includes billions of data points from millions of cancer patients, researchers can learn ways to improve clinical trial results, optimize clinical trial eligibility assessment, and enable innovation in pharmaceutical companies’ research.
Company website: Flatiron Health
Onkos Surgical is developing the Surgical Oncology Research Team (SORT) Registry. SORT collects functional, psychosocial and oncological outcomes of surgical musculoskeletal and other types of cancer treatment. The company is also a strong advocate of 3D printed implants and is learning ways to use 3D technology to prepare surgeons for cancer surgeries.
Company website: Onkos Surgical
Green Sun Medical was founded to develop innovative, comfortable treatments that address Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) and Kyphosis. The company is in process of designing a dynamic orthotic (brace) that will aid in correcting spinal deformities. The research is directed towards designing more comfortable, effective braces for patients, (especially children) with scoliosis. By creating a slim, unique design in brace technology, wearers can help fix their affliction with confidence and comfort.
Company website: Green Sun Medical
Using a device that resembles the diagnostic tool used on Star Trek, DxtER from Basil Leaf Technologies can diagnose individuals from the comfort of home. Smart sensors track vitals and body chemistry to accurately diagnose 34 health conditions, more than double that of the closest competitor. This 2017 winner of the Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize is currently being prepared for FDA approval and is expected to sell for less than $200 when it reaches market shelves. Plans are in the works to double the number of diseases and conditions the tricorder recognizes.
Company website: Basil Leaf Technologies
Bay Labs, Inc. combines AI deep learning with cardiovascular imaging to improve the diagnosis and management of cardiovascular disease. The company uses its technology to affordably train more medical professionals about how to effectively perform and interpret echocardiograms, a highly specialized field. Their hope is to make such training accessible to all medical professionals, thus providing more patients with a higher level of care in the treatment of heart disease. Bay Labs was recognized as one of the most promising AI startups in the social impact category at NVIDIA’s Inception competition in 2017.
Company website: Bay Labs, Inc.
Univfy uses proprietary predictive technology and machine learning to make the process, odds for success (within 5% accuracy) and costs of in vitro fertilization (IVF) more transparent. The company also helps patients locate reputable practitioners and funding for this expensive procedure. Clients enter profile data through a portal and quickly receive a free personalized IVF report explaining the likelihood of success, estimated costs, suggested IVF centers and respected resources for more information. Access for receiving the individual report is enabled through an IVF practitioner. Anyone can access the website to locate a practitioner service.
Company website: Univfy
Higi is bringing health management, personal data tracking, and built-in support networks to a kiosk near you! Higi users can measure all vital signs at more than 11,000 wheelchair accessible stations in grocery stores, pharmacies and club stores. The information can be stored and tracked online, on your cell phone, or a wearable device, and transmitted to a trusted health professional. Users can join communities for support in health management, such as weight loss or improved exercise routines. They can also participate in activity challenges to win prizes. This is a service for anyone interested in developing and maintaining healthy habits.
Company website: Higi
HealthCrowd is the first end-to-end engagement platform for healthcare. It provides support for healthcare organizations interested in unifying, automating and optimizing multiple forms of communication in order to deliver individualized patient oriented care. HealthCrowd provides a solution combining healthcare expertise and ad analytics. Its main focus is to engage patients, ensuring improved quality, clinical and financial better care outcome. HealthCrowd’s Unified Communications Platform employs different technologies and channels – text, voice, email, and nanosites – working in concert to drive members to action.
Company website: HealthCrowd
GluCase has developed a smartphone case glucometer to help diabetic patients monitor their blood sugar within the context of activity levels, food intake, and other factors. The glucometer case allows users to share their contextualized blood sugar readings with their care teams. A dashboard alerts both the patient and the team when the user’s blood sugar readings are either too high or too low. By using this device, diabetic patients are better able to take charge of their health and prevent medical emergencies.
Company website: GluCase
BioLert employs a smartwatch and smartphone app to help those suffering from chronic seizures. The watch uses a patented algorithm to recognize vital information indicating a seizure is imminent, then notifies users, their caretakers and designated medical professionals of the event. Information about seizure onset, seizures and accompanying physical manifestations are recorded in the cloud so the stats can be incorporated into a large body of knowledge about factors relating to seizures. Anyone can download the app to a smartwatch; there is a monthly fee for the service.
Company website: BioLert
Maven Clinic acts as an digital community and medical resource for women to get the care they need, anytime and anywhere at an affordable price. The site provides direct electronic contact to a network of 1000+ highly-vetted healthcare professionals for all types of women’s medical issues. Maven Maternity works with employers to help them provide maternity leave for new mothers, as well as support during the pregnancy and in the early stages after a child’s birth. Maven Clinic is an on-demand provider; a nominal fee applies to each appointment. Although any woman can avail herself of this service to take control of her health and well-being, women in areas with limited access to women-specific medical professionals find it especially helpful.
Company website: Maven
Babylon Health, a subscription health service, is currently only available in the United Kingdom and Rwanda, but it plans to rapidly expand coverage to the entire world. Subscribers (currently 275,000+) can contact doctors and other medical professionals via video messaging and text for virtual consultations on all medical concerns. Doctors in the network are very well respected in their fields. This service is bringing high-ranking specialists to those who would otherwise have no access to medical care at all. Patients rate each interaction, helping to keep quality of service high.
Company website: Babylon
Beddr is a sleep tracking device that records important sleep related data points while attached to the user’s forehead. The information is sent to a smartphone. Assessments about the effects of sleeping position, breathing, stress, and other factors can then be used to provide personalized sleep coaching without ever visiting a sleep clinic. The device can be used as often as desired to obtain deep personal understanding of sleep and how to get the best sleep thus improving quality of life.
Company website: Beddr
Nicotrax uses a smart cigarette case that attaches to a cell phone combined with a well-designed app, to create personalized plans that help people stop smoking. The program monitors all aspects of smoking behaviors, including where you smoke, times of day, and food intake, among other factors. A dashboard reveals individual patterns of smoking behavior in relation to those of other users. This information is combined to provide methods to decrease and eventually eliminate smoking habits. Anyone who seriously wants to quit smoking can use this technology to powerfully support their efforts.
Company website: Nicotrax
Spring Health is a proprietary screening platform helping smaller companies provide their employees with access to personalized mental health treatment. This startup has developed a personalized confidential mental wellness plan for employees to access a network of therapists or psychiatrists and get help as quickly as possible. Using this platform, employees can take control of their mental health care, be more productive, and improve workforce quality of life. And small businesses can finally offer a new service which would otherwise be unaffordable.
Company website: Spring
Empiric Health uses a software application to uncover variations in medical fees, quality of procedures and patient outcomes. Empiric uses this information to negotiate prices and work for changes in practices that lead to improved patient outcomes. Although only available in the Salt Lake City area now, Empiric Health is rapidly gaining funding to expand the program. Their goal is to standardize the quality and price of medical care.
Company website: Empiric Health
While this technically brings us to 32 startups, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to feature BioCardia®, Inc., a clinical stage regenerative medicine company pioneering stem cell therapy for patients with heart failure. Co-founded by world renowned cardiologist Simon Stertzer and his colleagues in 1999, BioCardia develops innovative therapeutics for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, which accounts for over 800,000 deaths in the US alone. BioCardia stands at the forefront of healthcare innovation with its Helix Biotherapeutic Delivery System, the leading catheter that enables localized delivery of cell and gene based therapies through the skin directly to the heart muscle.
Company Website: BioCardia
Co-founded by Samir Manjure, former Microsoft developer, and data science professor Ankur Teredesai, from the University of Washington Tacoma, KenSci is an AI-powered risk prediction platform for healthcare.
KenSci enables health systems to easily manage their data and gain predictive insights, which in turn increases the quality of care and lowers costs.
By aggregating data from electronic health records, wearables, and other sources, the platform predicts patient risks of developing chronic and critical illnesses including heart disease.
KenSci also provides estimates of expected costs for future years, helping hospitals to better plan their annual budgets.
Winner of the 2018 Microsoft Health Innovation Award for the best use of AI and machine learning, the company recently raised $22 million in series B funding to go global.
Read more about KenSci here.
Care Coach employs avatar technology to improve self-management of chronic conditions for the elderly. Behind the smart assistant avatar that interacts with patients via a tablet, is an entire team of health coaches and nurses. This combination of digital technology and genuine human connection is what makes Care Coach the perfect solution for the nation’s shortage of caregivers.
By providing guidance for managing chronic conditions such as heart failure and diabetes, the smart assistant avatar reduces hospital readmission rates. What’s more, the service includes digital pets that offer companionship to elders living alone, helping them cope with depression and anxiety. This unique avatar technology is already being used by home-bound patients and inpatients all across the country.
Read more about Care Coach here.
Early screening tools have been shown to drive up survival rates among patients with breast cancer. However, traditional screening devices are not advanced enough to detect subtle lesions and tumors in dense breasts.
Enter iCAD’s ProFound AI, the first FDA-cleared AI program for enhancing early breast cancer detection for 3D mammography. This program rapidly and accurately analyzes each image, enabling radiologists to easily spot abnormalities in mammogram images.
iCAD’s technology achieved impressive clinical trial results. It improved cancer detection rates by 8 percent, reduced unnecessary patient recall rates by 7.2 percent, and cut radiologists’ reading time by 57.4 percent for dense breast 3D image analysis.
The mental and emotional challenges of surviving cancer are often overlooked.
Many patients struggle with chronic pain, drug side effects and feelings of depression. To help these patients navigate their new reality, Sangeeta Agarawal, a former oncology nurse at The Mayo Clinic and founder of Helpsy Health, created the world’s first AI nurse for holistic symptom management and navigation (SAN).
SAN automatically creates personalized care plans for each individual and educates patients on how to manage their symptoms by creating better daily routines.
Among other functions, the virtual nurse offers exercise and dietary recommendations, sends reminders for upcoming medical visits and medication, and monitors patients through their wearables. It also sends alerts whenever a patient’s condition deteriorates.
According to a study conducted by Helpsy, people using SAN to manage their illness experienced major health improvements. In less than four months, users saw a 75 percent reduction in depression symptoms and reported 84 percent fewer aches and pains. Read more about Helpsy here.
This healthcare company is reinventing dementia detection with a five-minute test called
Integrated Cognitive Assessment (ICA).
Neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, begin long before any symptoms become apparent. Thanks to Cognetivity, patients can instantly find out if they have early signs of dementia by simply taking the test on an iPad; no medical supervision is needed. In the test, participants are briefly shown various images and asked to categorize the image as fast as possible. Their performance indicates whether or not they are at risk for developing dementia. This means sufferers can start treatment before the onset of measurable symptoms and reduce costs of treatment.
Cognetivity, whose advisory board includes world-renowned leaders in AI and brain mapping, is currently seeking to expand to Canada.
Read more about Cognetivity here.
One of the nation’s leading virtual care providers, Doctor On Demand, is making telemedicine mainstream.
Using video conferencing, the company’s wide range of specialists are diagnosing and treating both urgent medical conditions such as urinary tract infections, conjunctivitis or respiratory infections, and chronic conditions like diabetes, obesity and thyroid issues.
All at a fraction of the cost of in-person care.
The virtual care provider of choice for several Fortune 100 companies, Doctor On Demand recently launched Synapse, a virtual primary care platform designed to integrate with US health plans’ and employers’ existing networks.
Synapse will enable the company’s customers to import health data from connected devices such as blood pressure monitors or fitness trackers and easily share it with their Doctor on Demand’s care team either via electronic records or even fax.
Read more about Doctor On Demand here.
Developed on blockchain principles, Soom’s cloud-based enterprise SaaS platform aims to help medical device manufacturers improve data accuracy and reduce costs.
Drawing relevant data from multiple databases, including product lifecycle management (PLM) systems and the Food And Drug Administration(FDA), the company’s smart software is able to create tailored reports and share it with different stakeholders through a simple scan.
For instance, thanks to the SoomSafety app, patients can scan the barcode of a medical device to read safety and recall information about the product.
Warehouse workers can scan a product to look for the information that is most important to them, including confirmation of global trade compliance.
Soom’s platform has proven to increase patient safety, eliminate over-stocks in the supply chain and reduce product recalls.
Read more about Soom here.
GoHealth is on a mission to revolutionize the health insurance shopping process. Launched by two friends, Brandon Cruz and Clint Jones, from their one-bedroom apartment, this tech-driven company matches customers with affordable health insurance plans.
Aside from guiding clients through enrollment, GoHealth’s multilingual agents educate them about tax credit eligibility, prescription drug discounts, and on-demand doctor access. The company’s technology solutions have helped more than 30 million consumers shop for coverage. Named one of the “Best and Brightest Companies to Work for” in Chicago in 2018, GoHealth is working with 300 health insurance companies.