They got the idea for Clair Labs after seeing the aging population and push of hospitals to send low-acuity patients home, which resulted in more high-acuity patients in the hospitals. While at home, patients were generally given medical devices, and the pair thought they could combine their knowledge of consumer technology from Apple with health care to make those devices easier to use and something patients are willing to use at home.
What resulted is contact-free biomarker sensing for continuous monitoring of vital signs including heart rate, respiration, air flow and body temperature. Clair Labs is using that information to build medical devices and systems.
“One of the challenges of this space is that it is wide, and there are many companies taking a horizontal approach,” Berenson told Crunchbase News. “We think the best approach is to find existing workflows and deploy our technology. It is a bit trickier because you have to fall into existing clinical, regulatory and reimbursement practices, but it works well when all of those pieces fall into place.”
The company is initially targeting sleep medicine, especially around sleep apnea, as well as acute and post-acute care facilities.
According to Berenson, biomarker sensing is a more cost-effective way to digitally monitor around the clock. The system also monitors behavioral markers, including sleep patterns and distress, as well as tracks changes in the patient’s position, such as an intent to rise. All of that data is analyzed by machine-learning algorithms to provide evaluations and alerts to health care staff.
The technology is currently in clinical trials in Israel, and the company has plans to begin pilots with sleep centers and hospitals in the United States.
Clair Labs is pre-revenue and running on a lean team of 10 employees. The new funding will enable the company to hire for its R&D center in Tel Aviv, as well as get it in position to open a U.S. office next year, which will be focused mainly on providing customer support in North America and leading marketing and sales.
“It took us a bit of time to incubate, but with this round, we are now moving from incubation to prototyping and the clinical trials phase,” Berenson said. “The trials are going well and the system is performing. Our goals for the next two years include completing our trials in Israel before going to the United States for trials, getting FDA clearance, and beginning to sell before we go after our next funding round.”
Meanwhile, Rotem Eldar, managing partner at 10D, said his firm’s focus is on digital health, and there is a strong interest in Clair Labs due to an experienced team that is bringing technology and know-how into a space with a large market opportunity.
In the past few months, several remote patient monitoring companies have attracted venture capital, including:
- Cardiac digital health provider Vector Remote Care, which closed a $12.5 million Series A investment, led by Updata Partners.
- Launchpad Digital Health led a $10 million Series A round of funding into Harmonize for its AI-based remote health tool for high-risk patient populations.
- Norbert Health landed $5 million in Seed II funding, led by Serena Capital and HCVC, to continue developing its contactless vital sign scanning technology.
Eldar said Clair Labs differentiates itself with its computer-vision expertise, and in the way that it did not have to develop a new sensor — a large burden for companies — as the contactless application in different clinical applications.
“Sleep tests, though a niche market, is an entry into the market that is quick and needed,” he added. “With this type of sensor, they can enter the market quickly and easily expand usage to other applications.”