From medical devices to robots to big data for drug discovery, health-related startups presenting at last night’s StartX Demo Day pretty much ran the gamut.
The nonprofit accelerator for Stanford University students and faculty showed off 17 of its latest companies including six focused on healthcare. (MedCity News couldn’t attend but watched the footage of the pitches).
Remember that post last week about robots taking over healthcare? StartX provides us with another example. Veebot LLC has developed a device that automates the most common vascular access procedures: drawing blood and starting IVs, which are done 1.4 billion times every year in the U.S. alone. Using ultrasound to guide these procedures drops the failure rate but is also expensive in equipment and labor costs.
Veebot’s device uses existing visualization technology along with computer vision and robotics to make finding blood vessels easier. CEO Richard Harris said the company, which is raising a $500,000 seed round, will sell or lease its device at little or no profit, and make its money from consumables that go with it.
On the same note of improving existing technology, Morpheus Medical presented a cloud service that uses data from MRI images to generate 3-D models of hemodynamic function of the heart. This could help doctors identify and diagnose heart disease and help patients avoid invasive diagnostic catheter procedures. CEO Fabien Beckers said the company expects a quick 510(k) approval process.
From data to big data, NuMedii co-founder Tarangini Deshpande equated the process of drug discovery to scanning a dark room with a flashlight. Big data, she proposed, can light up the room. The company uses billions of biological, pharmacological and clinical data points to identify new disease indications for existing drugs. It’s already discovered six drug candidates and is pursing discussions with pharmaceutical companies for development partnerships,Deshpande said.
Perhaps the most quirky and unexpected presentation of the night came from StartX graduate ClearEar, now residing at the Fogarty Institute for Innovation. The company has created a device that lets nurses and physicians see into the ear canal while removing cerumen, or earwax. Believe it or not, too much earwax is a common problem and can cause serious complications including hearing difficulties, ear infections and obscured vision for doctors trying to look into the ear canal. ClearEar’s device aims to make effective removal simpler and less costly.
CEO Lilly Truong said the company is raising a seed round, which Johnson & Johnson and Dr. Fred St. Goar, the founder of Evalve Inc., have already contributed to. It’s also working with strategic partners Phonak Hearing Systems and Logitec UE, as well as physicians at Palo Alto Medical Foundation and Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts, for a pilot launch.
Two startups that we’ve has previously profiled also presented: online dermatology startup DermLink.md and digital health company Gauss Surgical, which created a platform to quantify blood loss during operations.
[Photo courtesy StartX]