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iRhythm raises $16M for patch that stores heartbeat data to help spot arrhythmia

April 10, 2013 8:04 am by | 0 Comments

zio patchA patch that acts as an electrocardiogram to record and store heartbeats for up to 14 days so it can be analyzed later for signs of arrhythmia has raised $16 million in a series D round. The cardiac rhythm diagnostics device is designed to offer an alternative to Holter monitoring to improve compliance and outcomes.

Norwest Venture Partners led the round and existing investors New Leaf Venture Partners, Synergy Life Science Partners and Kaiser Permanente Ventures also participated. iRhythm Technologies intends to use the funding for commercial expansion and to develop new technologies, according to a company statement.

Casper de Clercq, a partner with Norwest, said it had invested in iRhythm’s technology and service for hospitals for a few reasons: namely, it’s reimbursable and meets an unmet clinical need. Dr. Uday Kumar, the chief medical officer, founded the company in 2006 to better identify patients suffering from an arrhythmia who were not being diagnosed either because of limitations in available devices or in the processes required to initiate and monitor patients for arrhythmia, according to iRhythm’s website.

When it’s time to take off the patch, patients send it to iRhythm’s national clinical center for processing. The data is assembled into reports that are made available to physicians, but patients also get access to them.

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave 510(k) clearance to iRhythm’s Zio Patch in 2009, and it was introduced commercially in 2011.

Norwest has been building up its healthcare team in the past few years with an eye toward health IT investments, though it also numbers medical devices among its portfolio companies such as IntersectENT, a drug delivery system, and Simpirica Spine, which develops spine stabilization devices. De Clercq outlined the firm’s criteria for investment in the healthcare space.

“It needs to make sense in the filter of healthcare reform and it needs to meet a significant unmet need. … One concern about health 2.0 is that it may be interesting, but does it make a difference therapeutically?” He also noted that it has increasing interest in consumer-facing healthcare devices demonstrated by its investments in personal fitness tracker developers Misfit Wearables and Basis.

Health IT has also been an areas of interest for Norwest with investments in CareCloud, an electronic health record and practice management business, and Health Catalyst a data warehousing company.

He added: “iRhythm is one of the few late-stage sensor companies. … It meets an unmet clinical need in a patient friendly way and provides hospitals and physicians with full data services.”

Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of arrhythmia. Disorganized electrical activity in the heart leads to an irregular heartbeat that interrupts the flow of blood through the heart. People with the condition are at an elevated risk for suffering a stroke.

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Stephanie Baum

By Stephanie Baum

Stephanie Baum is the East Coast Innovation Reporter for MedCityNews.com. She enjoys covering healthcare startups across health IT, drug development and medical devices and innovations deployed to improve medical care. She graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania and has worked across radio, print and video. She's written for The Christian Science Monitor, Dow Jones & Co. and United Business Media.
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