ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Technology that predicts if a patient will become unstable hours before traditional vital signs is now backed with an $11.5 million Series A investment.
Fifth Eye Inc., a Michigan Medicine spinoff medical device software company started in 2017, received the investment to support research, development and commercialization of the company’s first product: the Analytic for Hemodynamic Instability (AHI).
AHI is based on technologies developed at the University of Michigan Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care (MCIRCC).
Using advanced signal processing and machine learning, AHI continuously monitors and interprets electrocardiogram (ECG) signals to predict if a patient will become unstable several hours before traditional vital signs could indicate a dangerous episode or event is occurring.
AHI is used in hospital settings where patients are having continuous ECG monitoring performed. Early identification of patients developing hemodynamic instability allows for intervention well before the condition becomes life- or organ- threatening. AHI updates a patient’s risk for such events every two minutes.
Originally developed as part of a simulated hypovolemia (hemorrhage) study by the U.S. Army, the concept behind AHI was further developed at the University of Michigan.
For four years, a team of MCIRCC researchers including clinicians, engineers, mathematicians and data scientists, several of which would eventually become the Fifth Eye team, developed a unique automated computer algorithm that uses data from a single lead of the non-invasive ECG signal for analysis and early identification of hemodynamic decline.
The new financing will be used to secure FDA clearance, support clinical studies and enable the commercial launch of the product.
“This product and company is a perfect example of MCIRCC’s strategy to transform critical care through innovation, integration and entrepreneurship,” said Kevin Ward, M.D., a co-inventor of the technology and the executive director of MCIRCC. “The key was bringing together a highly multidisciplinary team committed to developing a life-saving ‘big data’ precision-medicine tool, while simultaneously understanding the need to develop and cultivate a crucial business case to move the idea to impact.”
“Saving lives is what motivates both our team and our clinical champions,” said Jen Baird, chief executive officer of Fifth Eye and U-M alum. “This capital round gives us the fuel to accomplish those goals.”
Baird reached out to U-M Tech Transfer in 2017 to find new and innovative ideas to take into the marketplace. Upon meeting and collaborating with the MCIRCC team for nine months, she licensed two of MCIRCC’s predictive analytics, including AHI.
Kelly Sexton, U-M associate vice president for research – technology transfer and innovation partnerships, says U-M Tech Transfer has a history of helping transform research discoveries and technologies into new products that improve lives and drive economic growth.
“Great things happen when we are successful at connecting transformative technologies with experienced and driven entrepreneurs,” she said. “We are excited to see Fifth Eye raise the funding required to bring their early warning system to the bedside where it can improve patient outcomes.”
The latest funding of AHI was led by two healthcare investors – Arboretum Ventures and Cultivation Capital. Joining the round were MINTS, the direct investing arm of the University of Michigan’s endowment, along with additional capital from previous investors, Invest Michigan and 35 private angel investors. Tom Shehab, M.D., managing partner of Arboretum Ventures, Bill Schmidt, managing partner of Cultivation Capital and Mark Salamango, chief technology officer of Fifth Eye, will join Baird on the company’s Board of Directors.
Disclosure: Kevin Ward, M.D., has an ownership interest in Fifth Eye Inc.