- Vinehealth, which provides digital support for cancer patients and SaaS for research and development, has raised $5.5 million to debut in the United States.
- The company has created an app that offers individualized support to cancer patients while simultaneously simplifying the collection of patient-reported outcome (PRO) data for drug development and clinical trials.
- Vinehealth’s platform also acts as a conduit for clinicians to remotely monitor patients as they provide feedback on their symptoms and report any adverse treatment effects.
- It provides pharmaceutical companies with its platform as a software as a service, supporting them in enrolling patients for trials and gathering PRO to aid in R&D and drug development.
Vinehealth, a London-based digital health startup founded in 2018, has raised $5.5 million in seed funding to expand into the United States. The company has developed an app that provides personalized support for cancer patients while also making it easier to collect patient-reported outcome (PRO) data for drug development and clinical trials.
The investment, which co-founder and chief technology officer Georgina Kirby describes as a “late seed” in anticipation of a Series A in the next 12-18 months, is led by Talis Capital with involvement from prior investors Playfair Capital and Ascension.
Numerous angel investors have also participated in the round, including Keith Gibbs, former C.E.O. of AXA PPP Healthcare; Pam Garside, partner at New health; Voyagers Health-Tech Fund, led by David Rowan, Wired’s founding editor; David Giampaolo, healthcare entrepreneur and founder of P.I.P.I. Capital; Deepali Nangia, venture partner at Speedinvest and Atomico Angel; Faisal Mehmud, VP and former medical director of Bristol Myers Squib
After seeing the founders pitch at Entrepreneur First’s demo day, the startup, which we dubbed a “to watch” in 2019, combines behavioral science and artificial intelligence. Provide timely patient support and nudges (such as medication reminders) to help patients self-manage their treatment more quickly.
What is Vinehealth’s platform?
Vinehealth’s platform also serves as a conduit for clinicians to monitor patients remotely as they provide feedback on symptoms and report any treatment side effects. According to Kirby, the app has been downloaded around 15,000 times since its inception in January 2020, which includes all usage to date, including pure patient support and trials/research.
People living with cancer can download the patient support app for free in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Vinehealth offers its platform as a software service to pharmaceutical businesses, assisting them in recruiting patients for trials and collecting PRO to aid in R&D and drug development.
Kirby explained that they’ve been focused on pharma since the beginning and are finding a lot of momentum and opportunities there. The patient support program and the clinical trial are strikingly comparable goods. While these are distinct stages of the medication development process for pharma, the supply of software and other items required by patients during that process is pretty similar. As a result, they’ve restricted their focus to that life science product.
She clarifies that Vinehealth is not pursuing the procurement method of directly selling to healthcare providers. Thus, the concept is for life sciences research to fund the supply of assistance software to patients for free. (Although it is unable to publish any pharmaceutical customer names at the moment.)
While Vinehealth is focused on addressing the interests of pharmaceutical firms in terms of monetization, it is equally concerned with being perceived as patient-centric — and wants its app to play a critical clinician support role in promoting improved patient outcomes.
Kirby offers an online dashboard accessible via any browser for clinicians and doctors who wish to track their patients remotely while conducting research projects or even clinical trials. Those doctors and nurses can see that data in real-time, but they can also feed it into appropriate points along the care pathway. They are not going to sit on the dashboard all day.
Still, there may be times when it is highly beneficial for them to see specific red flags and know which patients to see first. And how to make more informed clinical decisions using real-time data rather than the typical fortnightly or monthly catch-up. As a result, she noted, it’s providing them with context and extensive longitudinal data that they’ve never had.
Vinehealth has digitalized the standard paper-based questionnaires that cancer patients are generally requested to complete during their consultation with their clinical team to describe their symptoms and provide any additional input.
Its premise is that transitioning that legacy process to a dedicated, user-friendly digital interface will improve patient self-management, treatment outcomes, and quality of life for people living with Cancer. Given the relative ease of reporting data via an app and the broader support package it offers (it has partnered with charities Macmillan and Bowel Cancer U.K.U.K. to provide support content for the app).
For instance, Kirby explained that they use A/B testing and machine learning to configure personalized and timely recommendations that surface relevant resources. And to determine the most effective ways and motivate patients to take medications and manage complex cancer treatment regimens.
Vinehealth’s app wrapper can also deliver positive feedback to patients to encourage them to supply PRO. Kirby cites evidence that when patients effectively track their PRO data, survival rates can increase by up to 20%. She stated that improved self-management has a significant impact on survival. They seek to demonstrate survival benefits and improvements in quality of life.
A synergy of behavioral science and data-driven assistance Vinehealth’s strategy is based on the co-founders’ combined knowledge. Thus, when they joined forces, they reasoned that they could genuinely harness both sides and use data to understand better what individuals are experiencing and understand the most successful. And to utilize behavioral science to offer some critical nudges at the appropriate time with the correct wording that can nudge individuals to develop their habits, feel more in control, understand what’s going on, and make better care decisions.
The app has a variety of nudges – some subtle, some large. They develop medicine nudges and reminders that are truly useful and are not quickly rejected by patients. They offer to log specific symptoms, which leads to explicit supporting content. If you’re logging anxiety at certain levels, here’s some supportive content that may help you cope with this specific symptom or side effect of your medication, she explained.
Additionally, she stated That it’s about the timing, the phrase, and how that nudge is delivered. Because research suggests that attempting to change too many things at once to at no effect they’ve thought very carefully about the nudge assist patients in developing better behaviors and how frequently we do so.
Kirby adds that the idea is to eventually put more advanced suggestions into the platform, such as predictive symptom recording or predicting what symptoms are likely to arise with this particular prescription in this specific patient.
For the time being, Vinehealth has developed an oncology-specific content recommender system that is tailored to the patient: adjusted to their diagnosis, reacting to their continuing input, and factoring in the information that other similar patients are reading and finding helpful. On the research side, Kirby notes that the platform’s most extensive study to date is an ongoing study involving nine N.H.S. Trusts and 300 patients, which Vinehealth is conducting.
Of course, health data is susceptible. Kirby confirmed that consent for third-party research purposes is obtained separately from the consent required of users of Vinehealth’s patient support product to allow Vinehealth to process their medical information to provide the service provide them with personalized treatment support.
According to her, that data is not shared with anyone unless they give explicit approval. Customers do not agree to their shared information as part of a clinical trial by registering on the platform. That is a whole different type of consent.
She noted that they make it very plain and do not wish to conceal any sharing in any manner; instead, they want it to be wholly evident and understandable to a patient. Everyone wants to help patients. They want to provide more opportunities for patients to participate in clinical trials, collect data, and feed it back in a way that isn’t currently possible because patients are suffering at home with these types of side effects. This data is never shared with the pharmaceutical company, for example. So they’re making it crystal clear what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, and they give patients a choice.
Kirby indicated that the business might seek to deliver appropriately anonymized data sets based on merely aggregated patient insights in the future to highlight demographic groups that have specific adverse effects from certain pharmaceuticals. However, she noted, given their current focus on studies and patient support programs, it is not something they are undertaking.
Vinehealth is already preparing for growth through a U.S.U.S. launch that it intends to complete early next year, with the company’s 18-strong team set to treble in the next six months or so and its first U.S.U.S. employee already secured.
Since fundraising, Kirby stated that their primary focus has been hiring a fantastic team, developing that team, and investing time in truly building that out. And he is ensuring that everyone is united on the objective and genuinely building out a scalable product to enter these new Mets. It’s all about having beautiful people when starting a business. You can have fantastic technology, but you have to continue if you have excellent people.
Beatrice Aliprandi, principal at Talis Capital, stated that they are ecstatic to be partnering with Rayna and Georgia. They had been monitoring Vinehealth’s growth for several months before investing, given the company’s unique value proposition, in which healthcare outcomes are directly related to financial products. It’s a win-win-win situation for patients, hospitals, and pharmaceutical corporations, which is uncommon in the healthcare industry, where stakeholders frequently clash.
From their first meeting, the founders’ resiliency and mission-driven mindset were instantly apparent, which is precisely why this opportunity was so attractive. Rayna and Georgina are tremendously motivated to enhance cancer patients’ lives and survival. Together, they have an odd mix of expertise, talents, and passion for making Vinehealth a success.