Startups, Devices & Diagnostics, Diagnostics

Healthy.io raises $18M to bring smartphone urinalysis tech to U.S.

Healthy.io’s urinalysis testing kit – dubbed Dip.io – uses disposable strips and cups in conjunction with a smartphone camera to read and interpret results.

Chronic kidney disease is a deadly and expensive disease. More than 100,000 Americans develop kidney failure each year and the costs to Medicare for the condition annually are roughly $144 billion.

Those were a few of the astronomical numbers that led to Yonatan Adiri to start Israeli digital health startup Healthy.io, which has developed an FDA-cleared at-home smartphone urinalysis test to help people test their kidneys for proteins, a sign of damage to the organ.

The company has announced an $18 million Series B financing round led by Aleph to support growth across its existing markets and its commercial launch in the United States.

Healthy.io represents Aleph’s first healthcare investment, which will help the company ramp up sales and leverage its recently-completed manufacturing facility in China.

“We joke around and say we want to do for urine what Cologaurd did for stool,” Adiri said, referencing the at-home colon cancer test produced by Madison, Wisconson-based Exact Sciences.

Healthy.io’s urinalysis testing kit – dubbed Dip.io – uses disposable strips and cups in conjunction with a smartphone camera to read and interpret results. The company is targeting a few major patient categories including pregnant women, diabetics and hypertensives at-risk for kidney disease and women who believe they may have the symptoms of a UTI.

“We’re making an anti-Theranos argument, we don’t claim or aim to solve everything. In the current swarm of startups we believe that we can carve out a niche if we’re very focused and disciplined in servicing patients,” Adiri said.

Adiri said after the initial hurdle FDA clearance, which the company received last year, the current challenge is winning the trust of providers and stakeholders to be able to sell into the hospital and health systems.

One way Healthy.io aims to do that is through an innovative pricing model it calls “pay for protein.”

Essentially this approach relies on the company taking at-risk patient populations, performing outreach and testing with payment only when the company identifies kidney disease. Because of that outcomes-based payment model, Adiri said the company plans to initially target the Medicare Advantage market in the U.S.

Healthy.io’s products are currently available in Israel and the United Kingdom, where it recently inked a deal with Walgreens Boots Alliance subsidiary Boots UK to introduce consumer-focused UTI testing at the company’s locations. It’s efforts have been supported by a partnership with Siemens Healthineers to use the company’s urinalysis reagents.

Adiri said the startup is boosted by rapidly advancing smartphone technology which can expand its technologies capabilities which every “quantum leap” the camera makes.

Of course, there’s inherent risk to basing a startup on another company’s technological advancements, but Adiri pointed to its new investor Samsung NEXT as one avenue for the Healthy.io to keep attuned to smartphone camera developments.

Over the next year, Adiri said Healthy.io’s priorities will be building out a team in the United States, educating the market on its pay-for-protein model and enhancing existing partnerships, including relationships with Geisinger Health and U.S. National Kidney Foundation.

Photo: Abscent84, Getty Images