Diagnostic Startup Bioscan Research Wins Unitus Ventures’s StartHealth 4 Competition

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Next step: Pitching for up to INR 4 crore in investments

26th June 2017, Bengaluru. Unitus Ventures, India’s leading impact venture fund investing in early-stage startups innovating for the masses, today announced the winner of the fourth edition of StartHealth – a nationwide challenge to find, fund and mentor startups that are driving accessible and affordable tech-driven healthcare solutions for India’s low-income population. Ahmedabad-based Bioscan Research emerged as a winner for their affordable, handy and non-invasive screening tool for early detection of intracranial bleeding, at the point-of-care. Nanosniff Technologies, whose novel microcantilever-based bio-sensing system can detect Myocardial Infarction, was judged a close second.

The two winners will now pitch for up to INR 4 crore in investments, while Bioscan Research will receive a cash prize of INR 6 lakhs.

Bioscan: Enabling Early Detection of Traumatic Brain Injury – A Leading Cause of Mortality and Disability

Research shows that victims of road accidents, falls, violence or natural calamities could sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI), leading to disruption in the normal functioning of the brain. In India, nearly 1.5 – 2 million people are injured, and 1 million die annually, due to TBI and it is predicted to surpass several diseases as a major cause of death and disability by 2020. Timely detection of intracranial bleeding can significantly reduce the burden of TBIs. However, lack of availability of CT/MRI scans everywhere severely limits fast screening onsite. In the absence of this, a neurological exam is conducted in the hospital, which (1) delays the detection and (2) is a subjective examination and a poor indicator of hematoma, thereby, impacting the survival rate as well as post-surgery outcomes.

To solve this challenge, Ahmedabad-based Bioscan Research has developed an affordable, handy and non-invasive screening tool for a quick scan onsite that can be effectively used by non-specialists (such as physicians and paramedic staff) to detect intracranial bleeding that can save lives of millions of patients whose brain injuries go undiagnosed. The device, developed indigenously, only costs one-tenth of the price of spectroscopes available in the market, and has produced 100 per cent accurate results when tested on 12 healthy heads.

“Bioscan Research is working to tackle an important problem by developing a practical, easy to use device that can help assess an injury’s seriousness. On one hand, this will help save thousands of lives by quickly transferring seriously injured patients to well-equipped centres and on the other hand, it will also minimise the waiting time at tertiary care centres by sending non-critical patients to other hospitals”, said Milind Shah, Venture Partner, Unitus Ventures who was also part of the StartHealth jury.

8 Other Startups are Revolutionizing Healthcare in India

In addition to Bioscan Research, the StartHealth 4 competition also found eight other promising startups. These are:

  1. Curill – Curill combines diagnostics with AI to accurately diagnose most diseases with over 50 per cent reduction in cost, time and effort.
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  2. DataCogin – DataCogin’s comprehensive AI-based system provides useful conclusions of visual inspections in the areas of pathology including haematology, improving workflow efficiencies in hospitals and diagnostic centres by 75 per cent.
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  3. I3systems – i3systems creates machine learning products that automate high-risk underwriting, and second performs financial analysis of medi-claims.
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  4. Lattice Innovations – Lattice Innovation’s Critical Care Management System is a SaaS-based model, that collaborates with best-in-class medical device suppliers to solve skill shortage, cost, speed and accuracy of care in rural areas.
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  5. Nanosniff Technologies – Nanosniff Technologies’ accurate and inexpensive point-of-care instrument can rapidly detect myocardial infarction (heart attack), an ailment that is often confused with general gastric problems (gas), leading to delayed or no diagnosis that could result in permanent disability or death. Their instrument is a microcantilever-based biosensing system that can detect specific cardiac marker released in blood, during and after an MI event, making diagnosis possible within the golden hour.
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  6. PathShodh – PathShodh’s patented biosensor device enables diabetes management and early diagnosis of Chronic Kidney Disease – an ailment that affects 30 per cent of ~63 million diabetic patients in India.
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  7. SURGERi – SURGERi is a data analytics platform designed for surgeons to digitize, collate and analyse surgery data for improving patient care.
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  8. Wellthy – Wellthy is an AI-powered digital platform that facilitates behaviour change and personalised medicine to reverse and control diabetes.

The fourth edition of StartHealth witnessed 186 startups applying (in the areas of AI, analytics, devices and home health); the highest number of applications received in any edition. Of these, 9 were shortlisted for the final pitch to the jury panel which included – Barath Shankar Subramanian – Principal, Accel Partners, Ganapathy Venugopal – Co-founder & CEO, Axilor Ventures, Jogin Desai – Founder and CEO, Eyestem Research, Milind Shah – Venture Partner, Unitus Ventures, Padma Chandrasekaran – Advisor, Unitus Ventures, Vaibhav Agarwal – Associate Partner, Lightspeed India Partners Advisors and Vijay Subramaniam – Global Portfolio Manager, GE Healthcare.

“It was great to see to see the finalists in the StartHealth competition taking on a diverse set of problems in healthcare. The quality of finalists and the range of ideas being worked is a clear sign of increasing maturity of India’s healthcare ecosystem”, said Ganapathy Venugopal – Co-founder & CEO, Axilor Ventures.

Started in 2015, StartHealth has so far received applications from over 600 startups. UE LifeSciences, a previous StartHealth winner and AmpHealth investee is bringing low-cost breast cancer detection to the masses in India with iBreastExam – an FDA-approved, low-cost, easy-to-use, handheld breast cancer scanning device. Since StartHealth funding, they have raised a Series A investment round of USD $4 million from Aarin Capital (Manipal Group), Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (Founder and CEO of Biocon) and Unitus Ventures.

About StartHealth Competition

StartHealth Competition is a Unitus Ventures initiative in the form of a competition to find best healthcare innovators in specific sectors of healthcare. The winner will receive a cash prize of INR 6 lakhs.

About AmpHealth Program

AmpHealth is a Unitus Ventures program that identifies, supports and invests in startups that are creating innovative scalable businesses delivering healthcare solutions for the masses in India. This program provides infusion of non-dilutive catalytic capital of up to INR 4 crore (~USD 600,000) prior to seed funding and aid accelerated growth along with support of our partners for early-stage startups. More about AmpHealth program >

About Unitus Ventures

Unitus Ventures is the leading impact venture fund investing in businesses innovating for the masses in India. Unitus invests in sectors including healthcare, education and financial technology. Unitus Ventures is backed by leading individual, family office, and foundation investors in the USA and India. Unitus Ventures is part of the Unitus Group, a premier financial services group operating in India and other emerging markets since 2000. Unitus Ventures is based in Bangalore and is a member of the Capria Network.

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