[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Scanadu-Scout.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]UPDATED December has been a mense horribilis for Scanadu, what with bricking the Scanadu Scout next year, missing the Qualcomm XPRIZE finals and a low equity raise.
Scanadu Scout heading to Doorstop and Paperweight-ville. This all-in-one diagnostic device, which promoted itself as a tricorder worthy of Star Trek‘s Bones, announced on 13 December that on 15 May next year, it will deactivate all units. (What Bones would say: “It’s dead, Jim!”) Users of this admittedly investigational device who purchased it for $200 starting in 2014, glitches and all, [TTA 5 Apr 14], are facing not only that it will ‘cease to function’ but also presumably the loss of access to their data as well. A Scanadu spokesperson to TechCrunch last week (13 Dec) attributed the action as necessary to comply with FDA regulations requiring investigational use devices to be deactivated at the end of the study.
Scanadu also failed to make the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE Final Two, also announced on the same day. They had already teamed with Intelesens of Northern Ireland. (More below)
Mobihealthnews reported on Sunday 18 December that Scanadu completed an additional $6.5 million equity funding, according to a SEC filing. Investors are not disclosed. The funding dated 7 December is considerably less than their $35 million Series B raise, primarily from Chinese VC investors, back in April 2015 which is the bulk of their now $56.1 million funding to date (CrunchBase). It is hard to interpret this one way or another, but MHN’s Jonah Comstock doesn’t hesitate to relate it to both the Scout bricking and the XPRIZE loss. To this Editor, it’s either conservative or like a line of credit, but why now, and not what you expect after a healthy Series B.
Returning to the soon-to-be bricked Scouts, there is no mention of current customer compensation, swap or discounting on future purchases of other Scanadu products, such as Vitals, the successor to the Scout, or Urine for urine testing. (more…)
A fascinating and slightly cynical overview of Silicon Valley’s ideological view of health tech that will fix our ‘deeply flawed healthcare system’ and what is getting funded (or not) is in next month’s San Francisco magazine. It profiles the ‘citizen doctor’ founders of vital signs ‘tricorder’ Scanadu (Sam–who’s not often mentioned–and Walter De Brouwer), bacteria tracker uBiome, ‘personal data recorder’ and experience charter We Are Curious (founded by Linda Avey, a long-departed co-founder of 23andme) and touches on the Theranos debacle. While these stories are bracing and in the instance of the De Brouwers, courageous, the notion of ‘citizen science’ (defined as direct-to-consumer health data) and its companion, Dr Eric Topol’s patient-centered/controlled medicine, has its drawbacks, viewed through the slightly gimlety ‘digital doctor’ eye of UC San Francisco’s Dr Robert Wachter. “The overarching message—not just from Theranos but from other companies struggling to get a toehold—is that, ultimately, the laws of economic gravity hold. The companies will have to produce products that add real value, either to patients or to payers. If they don’t, the market—or the regulators—won’t treat them kindly.” Flatly, there aren’t enough Quantified Selfers right now to support these companies. And Mr Market is a hard master. 23andme is back in the good graces of the FDA after a two-year scuffle and back doing direct response TV here in the US. Scanadu’s two products, Vitals (formerly Scout) and Urine are still not through the long slog of FDA clearance. The jury’s out on Theranos. And all these companies, including ‘unicorn’ Theranos, are bleeding cash and nowhere near turning a profit. ModernLuxury. Hat tip to Dr Topol via Twitter, who had a patient-centered conversation with Dr Wachter that we covered back in September. Another recent podcast with Dr Wachter is here (Community Health Center radio).
Update: ‘Citizen science’ is nothing new, as revealed by the Science Museum (London)–it’s over 300 years old. While it entered the OED in 2014, ‘in 1715, Edmund Halley used Philosophical Transactions to ask colleagues to help him observe a total solar eclipse, prompting observers from all over the country to respond.’ Other examples are from Benjamin Robins in the same publication in 1749 on fireworks, Charles Darwin and evolution, to the present day. The difference is the flow–similar to what we now call crowdsourcing versus the individual using the data to affect their care.
[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Scanadu-Scout.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Eric Topol’s Doctorless Patient takes one step closer to reality. The Scanadu ‘tricorder’ vital signs diagnostic ‘hockey puck’ received a major vote of confidence on Monday where it counts–funding. Their Series B of $35 million came from nine investors, led by Tencent Holdings, Fosun International and including Three Leaf Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, Redmile Group, Relay Ventures, I Globe Partners, Fenox Venture Capital and CBC Capital. Three Leaf, AME and Relay also invested in their Series A. Tencent, Fosun and CBC are Chinese; I Globe is from Singapore. Why the Asian interest? It turns out that China is extremely interested and forward thinking in mobile healthcare–it has a lot of rural area to cover, all health-underserved, as is the rest of Asia. The introduction of the company was made by Jerry Wang, a Yahoo founder and former CEO.
Scanadu is also nearing market: Fortune reports that a $199 consumer version of the Scanadu Scout will be released in 2016, pending FDA approval, and in development is a urinalysis test, Scanadu Urine, an app that would analyze the color of a testing stick. (more…)