PureTech Health Affiliate Sonde Health Announces $16 Million Series A Financing Round to Advance Vocal Biomarker Technology
Financing led by M Ventures with participation from MP Healthcare Venture Management, Neoteny 4, LP, Canepa Healthcare, and founder PureTech Health
PureTech Health plc (LSE:PRTC) (“PureTech Health”), an advanced biopharmaceutical company developing novel medicines for dysfunctions of the Brain-Immune-Gut (BIG) axis, is pleased to announce that its affiliate Sonde Health today completed a $16 million Series A financing round. The round was led by M Ventures (the corporate venture capital arm of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany), with participation from MP Healthcare Venture Management, Inc. (the corporate venture capital arm of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation), Neoteny 4, LP, Canepa Healthcare, and founder PureTech Health. The proceeds from the financing will be used to advance Sonde’s capability across multiple health conditions and device types and to fund commercialisation activities.
Sonde’s approach extracts hundreds of proprietary, non-linguistic vocal characteristics from short snippets of recorded speech. The technology measures subtle changes in pitch, hoarseness, rate of speech and other metrics imperceptible to most listeners and uses them as biomarkers to assess health. Sonde’s focus areas include mental health conditions such as depression, as well as a number of other mental health, respiratory and cardiovascular conditions where remote, passive monitoring could be impactful.
Eric Elenko, PhD, chief innovation officer at PureTech Health, said: “Sonde is pioneering an entirely new approach to health care with its proprietary platform. Their technology is designed to efficiently detect early signs of illness and monitor for changes in health using just a few seconds of voice. It’s an exciting approach with the potential to improve treatments and outcomes across a wide range of diseases, and we’re pleased to have a strong group of investors take it forward.”
The full text announcement from Sonde Health is as follows:
Sonde Completes $16 Million Series A Financing Round to Advance Vocal Biomarker Technology
Participants include M Ventures, MP Healthcare Venture Management, Neoteny 4, LP, Canepa Healthcare, and founder PureTech Health
BOSTON, April 11, 2019—Sonde Health Inc., a company developing a voice-based technology platform for monitoring and diagnosing mental and physical medical conditions, today announced the completion of a $16 million Series A financing round, including the issuance of $6 million in shares upon conversion of debt into equity. The round was led by M Ventures (the corporate venture capital arm of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany), with participation from MP Healthcare Venture Management, Inc. (the corporate venture capital arm of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation), Neoteny 4, LP, Canepa Healthcare, and founder PureTech Health. Sonde intends to use the proceeds from the financing to expand its capability across multiple health conditions and device types and to fund commercialisation activities.
“At M Ventures we back exceptional science and technology entrepreneurs to bring potentially disruptive ideas to reality,” said Edward Kliphuis, investment director of new businesses at M Ventures. “Sonde’s best-in-class vocal biomarker technology, driven by a great founder team, is such a transformational idea, which has the potential to positively impact patient outcomes by fundamentally reimagining how mental and physical conditions are currently monitored and managed.”
Sonde’s proprietary technology is designed to enable a range of consumer devices, such as smartphones and smart speakers, to provide disease screening and management solutions based on acoustic analysis of seconds of voice. Sonde is working to create seamless universal access to accurate and timely health information, which has the potential to promote wellness and improve the timing and selection of a range of therapeutic interventions. This approach may enable the prevention and treatment of conditions ranging from depression and respiratory diseases to chronic diseases of ageing.
“One of the oldest tools in our health care arsenal, the thermometer, is arguably still one of the most valuable because of its simplicity and widespread availability outside the clinical setting. Our longstanding vision has been to harness the health information present in billions of daily voice interactions to create a 21st century thermometer, or ‘vocometer’, that provides broad digital healthcare decision support needed to enable new models of precision and preventative medicine,” said Jim Harper, co-founder and chief operating officer of Sonde Health. “This financing round and the support of our new long-term partners allows us to accelerate the development of this groundbreaking technology and help deliver the positive impact it can have on an individual’s health and the healthcare system.”
About M Ventures
M Ventures is the strategic, corporate venture capital arm of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Its mandate is to invest in innovative technologies and products with the potential to significantly impact the company’s core business areas. From its headquarters in Amsterdam and offices in the US and Israel, M Ventures invests globally in transformational ideas driven by great entrepreneurs. M Ventures takes an active role in its portfolio companies and teams up with entrepreneurs and co-investors to translate innovation towards commercial success. M Ventures has a significant focus on early stage investing and company creation including the creation of spin-offs to leverage the company’s science and technology base. For more information, visit www.m-ventures.com.
About Sonde Health
Co-founded by PureTech Health (LSE: PRTC), Sonde Health is developing a voice-based technology platform to monitor and diagnose psychological and physical medical conditions. Sonde’s proprietary technology works by sensing and analysing subtle changes in the voice to create a range of persistent brain, muscle, and respiratory health measurements that provide a more complete picture of health in just seconds. To date, Sonde has collected voice and health data from over 10,000 subjects as part of the ongoing validation of its platform. These research and development data and activities are being accelerated to expand its proprietary technology into neurological, respiratory, and cardiovascular diseases as well as other health and wellness conditions. Sonde’s vocal biomarker programme has demonstrated the potential to effectively screen and monitor for disease using information obtained from an individual’s voice on commonly-owned devices and it has the potential to fundamentally change the way mental and physical health is monitored and diagnosed.
About PureTech Health
PureTech Health (LSE: PRTC) is an advanced biopharmaceutical company developing novel medicines for dysfunctions of the Brain-Immune-Gut (BIG) axis. The Company has developed deep insights into the connection between these systems and the resulting role in diseases that have proven resistant to established therapeutic approaches. By harnessing this emerging field of human biology, PureTech Health is developing new categories of medicines with the potential to have great impact on people with serious diseases.
PureTech Health is advancing a rich pipeline of innovative therapies across two divisions: its Affiliates and its Internal labs. PureTech’s Affiliates include seven clinical-stage platforms with two product candidates that have been filed with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for review and other novel pre-clinical programmes. These Affiliates are developing ground-breaking platforms and therapeutic candidates in collaboration with some of the world’s leading experts.
PureTech’s Internal research and development is centred on tissue-selective immunomodulation for the treatment of oncology, autoimmune, and CNS-related disorders, with a near-term focus on targeting newly-discovered, foundational immunosuppressive mechanisms in oncology and novel approaches that harness the lymphatic infrastructure.
PureTech's percentage ownership of Sonde Health following the financing is approximately 55.8% on a diluted basis. This calculation of PureTech's holding includes issued and outstanding shares as well as options and warrants to purchase shares, but excludes unallocated shares authorised to be issued pursuant to equity incentive plans.
Forward Looking Statement
This press release contains statements that are or may be forward-looking statements, including statements that relate to the company's future prospects, developments and strategies. The forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance and achievements to differ materially from current expectations, including, but not limited to, those risks and uncertainties described in the risk factors included in the regulatory filings for PureTech Health plc. These forward-looking statements are based on assumptions regarding the present and future business strategies of the company and the environment in which it will operate in the future. Each forward-looking statement speaks only as at the date of this press release. Except as required by law and regulatory requirements, neither the company nor any other party intends to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) 596/2014.