HEALTHTECH startup Biofourmis has clinched US$35 million in a Series B equity financing round led by Sequoia India, part of Sequoia Capital, and MassMutual Ventures SEA, the venture fund of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual).
Other backers in the round include existing investors Openspace Ventures, Aviva Ventures and SGInnovate, and new investors EDBI - the investment arm of the Economic Development Board - and Jianke, a Chinese online healthcare platform.
The fresh capital will be used to expand Biofourmis' operations and enhance its products. The Singapore-based firm also intends to increase its employee headcount to more than 100 in both the United States and Singapore by the end of 2019.
Biofourmis uses a combination of an artificial intelligence-powered platform, a patient mobile application and wearable biosensors to manage chronic health conditions.
It plans to grow its teams focused on data science, clinical and regulatory, and sales and operations as well as expand its Boston office to accommodate at least 45 employees from the current 12 based in the US.
Biofourmis will continue developing its product and treatment algorithms via a biopharmaceutical approach such as conducting randomised clinical trials and demonstrating safety and efficacy. Through this, its products would have treatment claims akin to a drug, and they would need to be prescribed by a clinician, said Kuldeep Singh Rajput, CEO of Biofourmis.
Mr Kuldeep told BT that the key to the firm's commercialisation strategy is a pharma-centric business model. Biofourmis will form partnerships with global pharmaceutical companies that will act as distribution channels to offer the digital therapeutics product in combination with a therapy, either as a value-added service or as companion therapeutics.
Insurance providers could then reimburse the treatment, just as they do with pharmaceuticals and therapeutic medical devices.
The firm is already working with top health systems in the US such as Mayoclinic and Brigham and Women's Hospital.
In April, Biofourmis' cloud-based software, RhythmAnalytics, received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The software detects cardiac arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. In November 2018, the startup announced a partnership with Brigham and Women's Hospital, testing RhythmAnalytics as a way to manage patients at home through the Brigham's Hospital Programme.
Chu Swee Yeok, chief executive officer and president of EDBI, said: "We have long recognised the impact of digitalisation on the healthcare industry and have been investing in the sector. Biofourmis' innovative digital platform, which leverages data science, exemplifies the opportunities in digital therapeutics to enhance conventional treatment for patients."