- Posted by Katerina Kanteraki
- On April 23, 2020
As the coronavirus pandemic widens, HealthTech startups are on the spotlight more than ever. We take a look on how our portfolio HealthTech startups Purposeful, Bioemtech, Tendertec and Advantis Medical Imaging are responding with drug repurposing for coronavirus, pre-clinical imaging for coronavirus mouse models, early remote detection of coronavirus symptoms in seniors and educational webinars for medical imaging practitioners.
PURPOSEFUL was our first Biotech investment and joined our Pre-Seed portfolio in October 2018. The team is actively contributing to #treating coronavirus by isolating candidates that can be repurposed to target coronavirus. Drug repurposing has been globally recognised as the most efficient scientific approach to faster and less risky symptom alleviation and viral reproduction blocking. To this end, Purposeful joined the struggle against COVID-19, focusing resources in order to derive the most promising candidates from the pool of existing drugs. In late March, the team produced their first list of candidates and made it available to the public. Purposeful, is now looking for funding for the in vitro validation of their 42 suggested drug repurposing candidates against COVID-19, to be carried out in collaboration with Dimokriteio University’s laboratory which is the only biosafe lab in Greece for such research.
BIOEMTECH joined our Pre-Seed portfolio in August 2019. The team is accelerating #testing efforts by assisting groups authorized to work with COVID-19 mouse models. Despite the fundamental role preclinical imaging has in COVID-19 research, very few labs worldwide have the safety levels to work with COVID-19 mouse models and even those who do, in most cases cannot afford the usual “elite” imaging tools in the market. Valuable time and resources are wasted as several clinical tracers could be used to assess lung functionality and radiolabeled compounds could be imaged in vivo for faster drug delivery of promising compounds. Bioemtech is offering the smallest, yet affordable, desktop screening systems that can monitor in real time PET or SPECT isotopes in mice and is ready to ship its systems to groups who work on COVID-19 research.
TENDERTEC joined our Pre-Seed portfolio in May 2019. Tendertec’s AI powered sensing system for remotely monitoring elderly & other vulnerable people is becoming even more relevant in #containing the pandemic. Lockdowns are minimizing coronavirus transmissions but at the same time placing seniors at greater risk of life threatening isolation and neglect. Tendertec’s solution, which addresses seniors living independently or in care-homes, reduces the need for carer visits as it detects health emergencies (e.g. falls) and automatically alerts caregivers. Their solution involves no wearables or buttons, which makes it viable, senior-friendly and scalable. With Tendertec’s technology, the need for carer visits is significantly reduced; which in turn reduces the virus transmission risk to the most vulnerable age group, and vice-versa. Recognizing this, the team is also developing an early warning and remote monitoring system that reports end-user health cues to identify possible COVID-19 or neglect cases.
ADVANTIS MEDICAL IMAGING joined our Seed portfolio in March 2019. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Advantis has been #managing the side effects of de-prioritization of non urgent medical screenings. By presenting its digital solution it is reliably allowing for the medical practice continuation, while efficiently transitioning to cloud based image management, processing and collaboration that require nothing but internet connection. The team has been holding online webinars to train existing customers as well as connect with and onboard new pathologists on their cloud based medical imaging technology. Both their March and April webinars were oversubscribed with over 160 participants from 54 countries. And that is just the beginning; market experts project a “surge” in routine imaging screenings in the coming months due to the de-prioritisation of such exams during outbreak peaks. As soon as medical organizations restart their delayed screenings, they will be heavily challenged by large backlogs which Advantis will be able to address.
Global pandemics won’t vanish with the eradication of COVID-19. Now more than ever, policy makers, industry leaders and investors are allocating resources to identify better tools and methods to manage the lifecycle of pandemics on a global scale with a focus on detection, testing, treatment and management. Technology advancement with the use of AI, data analytics, IoT and sensors offers unique tools for analysis, modeling and communication at a fraction of the time and cost. At Metavallon VC, we are proud of how our startups are responding and we are committed to the HealthTech vertical by supporting the existing portfolio companies and actively investing in new promising HealthTech startups revolutionizing the space!