One Year After Launch, Israeli Digital Health Incubator has First Portfolio Company
A year ago, at MedCity INVEST, their national healthcare investing conference, eHealth ventures announced that it had secured a tender from the Office of the Chief Scientist in Israel to run a digital health incubator. Now, the incubator has invested in its first portfolio business.
Tom Sudow, director of business development with Cleveland Clinic Innovations, which is a partner in the fund…gave an update on the venture in a phone interview with MedCity News.
TikTalk2Me is a digital health company taking on speech therapy. Its approach combines gaming with speech therapy and voice recognition technology, according to a brief description of the business emailed by Sudow.
The Israeli incubator is also reviewing two more companies for investment, following their selection in its startup competition.
Pending a due diligence review, it is considering a company focused on food allergies and another with a connected cap for insulin pens.
AllerGuard is an early stage company that claims it is developing a matchbox-sized personal allergen hazard sensor to help people with strong food allergies. It can detect the chemical properties of the allergy-inducing compounds and alert users, according to a description of the company on the F6S website.
Insulog is developing a connected insulin pen cap for disposable insulin pens to support adherence. It is designed to detect and count the insulin units injected and enable that information to be tracked by users.
These tenders from the Office of the Chief Scientist, which last eight years, have sparked some other interesting collaborations in digital health.
In 2015, Medtronic and IBM won a grant to set up a digital medicine incubator in Haifa with Pitango Venture Capital and Rambam Hospital. Although it was initially called Health 02, it launched last year as MindUp. The digital health incubator has one portfolio company to date — Hemonitor Medical. The company develops an autonomous, continuous, non-invasive ultrasound device for patient monitoring, according to MindUp’s website.
Johnson & Johnson opened a biotech accelerator with OrbiMed Israel and Takeda Pharmaceuticals called FutuRx and has built a portfolio of nine companies spanning pre-clinical treatments for cancer to Orphan diseases such as Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome and X-linked thrombocytopenia.
Teva and Philips’ Sanara Ventures has six companies in its portfolio such as home monitoring business spirCare and telehealth business My HomeDoc.
With a goal of making Israeli companies competitive in the U.S. market, the incubators all follow the same structure dictated by the grant.
As part of the program, incubators are given budgets ranging from $500,000 to $800,000 and 85 percent of that comes from the government through a grant — the rest is financed by the incubators. Each early stage company in the program pays the government 3 percent to 5 percent of royalties from the revenue they generate until the full amount of the grant, including interest, is repaid, according to a website for the program.