Raises $3.5m to deploy large scale personalised diabetes prediction and prevention platform
Sweetch Health, which has developed a ‘digital vaccine’ for diabetes, has raised $3.5 million in a Series A round led by Philips, a major health technology company, and OurCrowd, an equity crowdfunding platform. Participation from prior investors also included Pontifax L.P. and Lionbird L.P.
Sweetch Health, an Israeli digital health start up, has developed a platform that assists in identifying individuals at risk of developing diabetes and coaching to prevent diabetes and other chronic conditions.
Sweetch’s proprietary behavioural analytics engine continuously learns the user’s habits on various aspects and based on the data uses various gamification and behavioural science methodologies to translate the information into personalised recommendations. These conclusions are then dynamically adapted, in real time, to the user’s actual performance.
It is long known that most diabetes cases are preventable through lifestyle changes. Several large clinical studies have proven that 150 minutes of activity per week reduce pre-diabetes to diabetes conversion risk significantly. Unfortunately, about 80% of the pre-diabetics do not adhere to the WHO, CDC, and American Heart Association’s recommendations, especially in the long run.
Current funding will be used to complete a pilot programme and clinical trials soon to begin at a major international medical institution and jump start commercialization in the US. Upon completion, Sweetch will be well positioned to be ‘prescribed’ by medical team personnel worldwide.
OurCrowd’s CEO Jon Medved stated that, “given the recent announcement by the US Secretary of Health and Human Services regarding Medicare coverage of diabetes prevention programmes, the latest news from Sweetch could not have come at a more important time. We are joining major strategic partners to empower the platform development and serve millions of high risk patients as we battle this global epidemic.”
Added Dana Chanan, Sweetch CEO and co-founder: “We are very proud to be trusted by such global and well-known companies. We have a mission to achieve; make the world a healthier place on a large scale, and this can be done only through the use of smart devices connected with big data analytics and the individual level.”
There are 387 million diabetic patients globally, and diabetes is the leading cause of the most significant chronic diseases such as heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, renal failure, blindness and amputations. According to the American Diabetes Association, an estimated $600 billion a year is spent on diabetes in the US alone. Pre-diabetes constitutes the largest pool of future diabetics. About 86 million US adults are pre-diabetic.
While wearable physical activity tracking device sales surge, moving beyond mobile health hype, current wearable companies suffer from a serious adherence challenge. A significant percentage of users stop using the devices after three to six months because they fail to utilise their tracked data. Current platforms miss a significant engagement component; real time personalisation, which is based on converting the data into actionable recommendations that fit the user’s life habits and engage them with a new healthy behaviour.
The company’s veteran, multi-disciplinary team has combined their expertise in data science, digital health, and user engagement to develop a unique mobile health solution, which address one of the most attractive segments of the healthcare Internet of Things space, which Goldman Sachs forecasts as a $30 billion-plus market.
The behavioural analytics engine and mobile application serves as a personal digital health coach, nurturing the user in small steps, which are then adapted to the user’s personal life habits. The desired outcome is to reach the recommended 150 minute goal, with an emphasis on long term adherence and engagement.
Also, the behavioural analytics engine can also be applied to other significant chronic diseases and pre-chronic disease states, such as pre-hypertension and hypertension, obesity and metabolic syndrome, the company claimed.