Exclusive: Sonde Health raises $19M Series B to detect disease in voice

Exclusive: Sonde Health raises $19M Series B to detect disease in voice

Sonde Health has raised $19.25M in Series B funding to globalize its voice-based disease screening technology with partners in Korea and India, CEO David Liu tells Axios exclusively.

Why is this important: Noninvasive health tracking has grown in popularity during the pandemic, and voice tags have long since emerged as a lucrative potential arena for further exploration.

Offer details: Partners Investment led the round, bringing Probe’s total raised capital to just over $35 million. Investment fund NEOM, KT Corporation and insiders PureTech Health, M Ventures, MP Healthcare Venture Management, Neoteny and Evidity Health Capital also participated.

  • As part of the increase, Partners Managing Director Joonsoo Kim will join Sonde’s Board of Directors.
  • Probe plans to use the new capital to expand domestically in East and Southeast Asia, further refine and validate its products with clinical trials, and create tools for more health conditions.
  • “We’re starting to prove and validate everything we talk about,” Liu says.

How it works: Probe licenses its respiratory and behavioral health screening technology to telehealth, pharmaceutical and medical companies.

  • The company’s technology measures a range of vocal biomarkers, such as softness, control, liveliness (assessed by change in pitch), speech patterns and clarity, which can indicate a patient’s behavioral health.
  • The Probe platform also measures respiratory health, analyzing breathing and vocal ability.
  • “For the first time in a long time, we have the ability to not disturb people – rather than going for a diagnosis or carrying out an invasive test at home – the voice provides an early warning system,” said Liu said.
  • The convenience and potential of vocal biomarkers to detect a wide range of diseases is attracting interest.

Yes and: Probe claims to have the largest and most diverse voice dataset, consisting of approximately 1.2 million voice samples from approximately 85,000 subjects on four continents.

Reality check: While COVID-19 in particular has helped Probe hone its respiratory disease technology, the company does not plan to invest more in COVID research, Liu and Kim told Axios.

  • “We see that [Covid] work as a proof of concept for respiratory conditions,” says Kim.
  • β€œTo think that any device could be a diagnosis of depression and anxiety β€” it’s so hard,” Liu says. “But if we can provide [vocal] data and insights to a doctor or therapist, it really enriches the medical workflow.”
  • Additionally, while Probe sees promise in its technology as a screening tool, it is not yet capable of diagnosing all conditions.

Enlarge: Disease areas in which the company conducts research include:

  • Depression and Anxiety, where the company is conducting a validation study of its tools with McMaster University.
  • Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis and COPD, where most of the company’s efforts are still in the development phase with partners such as Montefiore and the University of Cambridge.
  • Dementia and mild cognitive impairment, where it remains in the early stages of research with partners such as the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
  • Drunk Driving, where she is just beginning to assess her potential with automakers, including Tesla.

State of play: Startups and tech giants have stepped up their efforts in the healthcare sector in recent years. For instance:

Yes, but: Amazon, which rolled out its Alexa devices in several hospitals last year and unveiled a partnership with Teladoc in February, is ending support for its HIPAA-protected Alexa tool.

And after: The company recently signed its second of two deals with Qualcomm to build chipsets with Probe’s voice biomarker technology embedded.

  • The first deal, in 2021, focused on mobile device chipsets; the current deal also includes IoT chipsets that could be embedded in devices like wearables.
  • “By the first quarter of next year, we will have a working version of our technology on mobile chipsets,” Liu said.

#Exclusive #Sonde #Health #raises #19M #Series #detect #disease #voice

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *