Novoic Raises £2 Million Seed Investment for AI-based Speech Analysis to Detect Neurological Diseases Earlier
Anthemis Exponential Ventures leads the round, with participation from APEX Ventures and Entrepreneur First
LONDON, July 31, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Novoic, a digital biotechnology company developing speech-based AI algorithms for diagnosis and monitoring of health conditions, today announced it has raised £2.0 million in Seed funding to scale up its AI research team and advance its clinical programmes, including in early-stage Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
Following a strongly oversubscribed investment round, the startup has secured backing from leading global investors including Anthemis Exponential Ventures, APEX Digital Health, as well as Entrepreneur First, and Plug and Play Ventures. Notable angel investors include Stanford Angels.
Anthemis' Vica Manos said: "The current pandemic vividly shows the need for digital, non-invasive technologies for clinical diagnosis and monitoring. Clinical trials are on hold, with regulators advising on the use of novel remote endpoints to salvage the trials. At the same time, the shift towards telemedicine models is further accelerating the adoption of digital technologies in the health care sectors. Novoic–with its next generation algorithms and strong focus on clinical validation–is best positioned to drive this acceleration."
Novoic is developing the first speech-based software-as-medical-device (SaMD) for diagnosing and monitoring health conditions–initially for a pipeline of target indications in neurology. "Neurological diseases are on the rise and we know that the earlier a diagnosis of a neurodegenerative disease is confirmed the better patient outcome and treatment options will be. Hence, I am excited and humbled to support the very skilled Novoic team on their journey in building the leading speech-based diagnostic algorithms," says Dr. Gordon Euller, Lead-Partner Digital Health at APEX Ventures.
The company is developing a new class of medical AI algorithms for analysing audio-linguistic fingerprints of spech for diagnosis and monitoring of a multitude of clinical conditions, initially focused in neurology–and the large-scale validation required to build clinically viable, SaMDs that can be successfully deployed in clinical trials and healthcare systems across the world. The Oxford and Cambridge founded company is working with the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation's (ADDF) Diagnostic Accelerator–supported by Gates' Ventures–and leading clinical research institutions in the United Kingdom.
Novoic will leverage this investment to continue building the industry's best AI research team focusing on deep analysis of audio-linguistic data for clinical applications; and an engineering team specialised in medically compliant productionisation of its new research advances. The investment will additionally be leveraged to advance a number of clinical programs with academic and commercial partners.
"Decades of academic research has linked speech changes and many neurological conditions. However, we are yet to see clinically viable products that have been developed as a result of this work. There's been a number of barriers to clinical development that existing techniques fundamentally have not been built to solve and cannot solve. In the last 2-3 years the research field of applying AI to analyse audio and natural language has transformed beyond recognition. We believe that the time is now to leverage new AI-technology to create long-lasting solutions for patients all over the world," says co-founder and CEO, Emil Fristed.
"We're developing and validating a completely new modality that's never been used in the healthcare system; that requires innovation and rigour across development and validation, to ensure the algorithms work robustly, to improve patient outcomes," says Emil Fristed, "it was key to find investors that understood both our rapidly transforming commercial landscape and building strong AI-first medical products–including the scientific rigour and validation required."
Novoic is an AI-first, digital biotechnology company, founded by researchers from Oxford and Cambridge University. The company is developing, testing, and validating a new class of algorithms for analysing audio-linguistic patterns of speech that are predictive of the earliest stages of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease–where these patterns have been found to change decades before traditional diagnosis. The team is working to put the first clinically viable speech-based algorithms on the market, as software-as-medical-device. The company has active clinical programmes in a number of neurodegenerative and psychiatric conditions.
About Anthemis Exponential Ventures
Anthemis Exponential Ventures is a pioneering investment partnership powered by Anthemis Group and Exponential Ventures, the disruptive venture capital arm of Momentum Metropolitan Holdings. Anthemis Exponential Ventures invests in and supports nascent businesses dedicated to financial wellness. With the aim of inspiring a culture of "profit with purpose" and creating a prosperous and inclusive global growth economy, Anthemis Exponential Ventures focuses its investments on fintech, insurtech and healthtech categories in Europe, the US and emerging markets.
APEX Digital Health, the 2nd fund under the APEX umbrella, invests in promising early-stage healthcare companies which are committed to improve patient outcomes and experience.
APEX Ventures is a European venture capital firm with headquarters in Vienna and Frankfurt, focusing on deep-tech companies. The team is not only acting as investors but also as company builders with a mission to support the most talented start-up teams in building global market leaders.
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