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April 16, 2020

Medopad rebrands as Huma, acquires AI and wearable start-ups

Digital health company Medopad has changed its name to Huma and acquired two UK artificial intelligence (AI) and wearable technology businesses, BioBeats and Tarilian Laser Technologies (TLT).

By Chloe Kent

Digital health company Medopad has changed its name to Huma and acquired two UK artificial intelligence (AI) and wearable technology businesses, BioBeats and Tarilian Laser Technologies (TLT).

Former UK Secretary of State for Health Alan Milburn has also been appointed as chairman of the Huma board of directors.

Huma specialises in remote patient monitoring for people with rare and chronic diseases, and has recently begun to provide clinicians across the UK with a Covid-19 specific version of its platform. To date, it has raised more than $50m across two funding rounds – the first of these was led by Hong Kong investment company NWS Holdings in February 2018 and raised $28m, followed by the completion of a $25m Series B round led by Bayer in November 2019.

Huma CEO Dan Vahdat said: “Huma is broadening its offerings to monitor holistic health, including beat-by-beat blood pressure monitoring and mental health and wellbeing. With a better picture of a patient’s overall health, Huma aims to develop new digital biomarkers that help understand, diagnose and treat for longer, fuller lives.

“Both companies integrate seamlessly into Huma’s Medopad Remote Patient Monitoring platform. Together, they offer partners new ways to monitor patients and a better picture of overall health and well-being.”

The acquisitions should significantly expand Huma’s digital biomarker expertise, enabling it to incorporate mental and cardiovascular health data through its platform.

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BioBeats: mental health and wellbeing support

BioBeats is building a mental health and wellbeing support app called BioBase.

The Biobase app is designed to be paired with biosensors and a wearable device to gather biometric data such as heart rate variability. This information will then be partnered with psychometric measures like mood journaling to provide users with a personalised wellbeing score.

The company has raised more than $5m, and was recently valued at $10m. Huma did not disclose specific deal terms for either of its acquisitions to Verdict Medical Devices, but public record shows that it has now acquired a 75%+ majority share in BioBeats, with majority control over the company’s board of directors and 75%+ voting rights.

BioBeats will operate as a standalone subsidiary of Huma that will use the company’s experience, global partners and innovation capabilities to expand its offerings globally.

TLT: wearable hypertension monitoring

Meanwhile, TLT has been working towards developing a blood pressure monitoring device worn around the wrist. The company went into administration in September 2019.

A former TLT investor who wished to remain anonymous said: “These losses are of course nothing to do with Medopad and [they and other former investors] hope, for the potential benefits to patients around the world, that Medopad are successfully able to bring the technology to market.”

Verdict Medical Devices understands that in acquiring TLT, Huma has purchased its software assets, a number of patents and the wearable device designed to continuously and non-invasively monitor blood pressure known as ViCardio.

Vahdat said: “TLT impressed us with their patented technology and innovative approach to monitoring blood pressure for patients continuously and remotely. We specifically liked that this measurement is less invasive and much easier to use compared to a traditional pressure cuff.”

What does this mean for Huma?

Huma is lining itself up to become a significant player in the remote patient monitoring market, having already bought out US rival Sherbit in September 2019. The company has built a strong network of industry partnerships, and currently has several clinical trials underway to validate various digital biomarkers.

It is working with the Tencent AI lab to build on existing research into Parkinson’s disease, measuring its progressby monitoring the way patients carry out a repeated pinching movement over time. Huma also plans to branch out into other disease areas, such as cardiovascular and neurodegenerative illness with Tencent.

Moreover, Huma is set to continue its work validating and commercialising the ReVeRe platform for Alzheimer’s diagnosis with Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals over the course of 2020. This project aims to measure Alzheimer’s progress through vocal recordings.

Vahdat said: “For the first time in history, we have the technology, data and insights to redefine health.

“Even two years ago it would have been unthinkable that a single device could measure blood pressure, oxygen saturation, track your sleep and detect any falls. But mammoth advances in everyday wearable tech have done exactly that. Coupled with a huge shift in how people are using wearables, it’s a space with vast potential of which we’ve only just scratched the surface.

“Huma has bold ambition and recognises that it is not a one-company mission. We will continue to partner with healthcare, life sciences and innovation leaders, and acquire complementary businesses and technologies to help us achieve our goals.”

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