Photo credit: Bodyport
After selling their former startup, Atreo Medical, to Medtronic, founders Corey Centen and Sarah Smith were looking to build something new. Bodyport
The two biomedical engineers had built a CPR assist device that would help the rescuer deliver more accurate chest compressions. But what if they could help prevent these heart failures in the first place?
“We wanted to bridge the gap between typical digital health tools and the more advanced medical devices that exist in a hospital setting,” Centen said in a phone interview. “It’s been an interesting journey moving from the reactive side to the preventive side.”
Their latest startup, Bodyport, raised an $11.2 million series A round, led by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF). Existing investors Playground Global and Initialized Capital also participated in the round.
Their latest device is a home scale intended to detect early signs of heart disease. While the user stands on the scale for 20 seconds, it records their heart’s electrical function using technology similar to what’s found in an Apple Watch, and their heart’s mechanical function. This information would then be shared with the patient’s care team.
This is important, Smith said, because some of the early symptoms of heart failure can be subjective. For example, watching for cold hands or fluid in the legs.
“We’re seeing the importance of that now more than ever,” she said. “We’re feeling the pain of what patients with heart failure are dealing with day-to-day and the lack of information that’s out there for the best ways to manage your condition.”
BIVF’s executive director, Debbie Lin, Playground Global Partner Bruce Leak and Initialized Capital Managing Partner Garry Tan will join the company’s board of directors.
“We are very excited to work with the Bodyport team and to support an innovative technology that can develop new biomarkers in the cardiovascular space,” Lin said in a statement. “Learning how the Bodyport technology could potentially complement pharmaceutical therapies for patients with various cardiovascular diseases is a tremendous opportunity.”
To date, the company has raised $15.8 million.
Bodyport also began collaborating with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston to develop technology to prevent avoidable hospitalizations and to discover new biomarkers for the early detection of heart disease.
“The focus on the scale form factor captures some of the most valuable real estate available in biometric collection and biological assay development,” Brigham and Women’s Vice Chair for Scientific Innovation Dr. Calum MacRae said in a news release. “We look forward to our collaboration with Bodyport, and to advancing research in this area.”
Bodyport has already run a couple of studies of its device, and is seeking FDA clearance as a class II medical device.
Centen thinks of it more as a complement to existing wearable devices. Rather than focusing on atrial fibrillation or rhythm disturbances, for Bodyport, the goal is track the heart’s efficiency in circulating blood through the body over a period of months or years.
“The reason that we built this entire product is to leverage a step that many patients are already taking,” he said. “Instead of having three or four different devices they’re looking to do all of that in one step.”