Healthtech/News/

NHS-trusted healthtech Huma raises $130m to double hospital capacity

The money comes from companies including Bayer, Samsung, Unilever, Sony and Hitachi.

By Freya Pratty

Huma, a healthtech startup that’s already helping NHS hospitals in the UK treat more patients, has raised $130m to deliver “hospitals at home” and decentralised clinical trials.  

The Series C funding, raised from companies including Bayer, Samsung, Unilever, Sony and Hitachi, includes an additional $70m that Huma can access if it chooses to, bringing total funding to $250m.

Huma’s aim is to decentralise healthcare and enable more patients to receive treatment at home, thereby increasing the number of people a hospital can care for at once. 

“Our vision from day one has been how we can help people live longer, fuller lives by bringing better care and better research to populations in ways that are more decentralised,” the company’s CEO and founder Dan Vahdat told Sifted.

The funding is part of a trend of booming investment into the healthtech industry, which has seen record levels invested into the sector’s startups since the pandemic began. 

Huma’s tech is also part of a growing trend of remote, decentralised care. That trend includes telemedicine companies, such as Doctolib and Babylon Health, which facilitate video consultations with patients. Huma is slightly different in that it’s focused on remote care itself rather than just consultation.

Hospitals at home

Patients are prescribed an app which gives them instructions from their doctors to follow at home. It also collects data that’s monitored by teams in the hospital. 

The system uses sensors to collect information about things like oxygen saturation something which is critical when treating Covid-19 patients as well as blood pressure and glucose level.

“The doctors can intervene and see all your data in real time,” explains Vahdat. The system can flag changes in patients’ data to the care team.

“In some cases, the care teams are deployed to the home, but in most cases, the doctors should be able to intervene virtually through video calls.”

NHS hospitals across the UK using the tech found that 90% of patients adhere to the guidelines issued by doctors via the app. The health service also found that using Huma can double the amount of patients they’re able to help at once. 

Decentralised clinical trials

The second element of Huma’s offering is decentralised, at home clinical trials, using the same “hospitals at home” tech to collect real time data from patients in trials.

“It’s the first time in the history of medicine that we have the opportunity to collect real time data, as opposed to periodic data,” says Vahdat. 

“With that, you can do proactive, predictive care in ways that haven’t been possible before.”

The company’s already worked on clinical trials with life sciences companies like AstraZeneca, Bayer and Janssen, as well as with institutions like Johns Hopkins University and the University of Cambridge. 

The funding

The latest investment into Huma comes from a range of corporate partners: Unilever, Samsung, Hitachi, Sony and Bayer.

The thinking behind that, Vahdat explains, is to increase their growth rate by increasing their networks.

“We thought, how could we accelerate our impact in the shortest time possible?” he says. “Healthcare is an industry that relies on knowing a lot about each geography and having established connections.”

The funding will be used to speed up growth in the US, the DACH region and Asia, as well as putting more investment into research and development.

Freya Pratty is Sifted’s news reporter. She tweets from @FPratty

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