Today, MobileODT announced it has raised an additional $6.825 million in a Series B fundraising round led by OrbiMed Advisors - a leading healthcare venture fund. Previous investors Tristel plc. also participated in the round. MobileODT has raised over $13 million to date.
MobileODT plans to use the Series B funding to continue to expand its product portfolio and IP as well as grow sales and marketing efforts in the US and international markets in which it is currently selling.
Ariel Beery, CEO & Chairman of the Board said “We are excited to accelerate our growth through this financing round led by some of the world’s best strategic and healthcare investors. This financing together with the recent launch of the third generation mobile colposcope, the FDA cleared EVA System, will enable us to fulfill our promise to reach every patient.”
As a part of the new financing, Dr. Ron Ginor, a Venture Partner at OrbiMed Advisors, will join the MobileODT Board of Directors. Mr. Ariel Beery, the company’s co-founder and CEO will also serve as the Company’s Chairman of the Board and continue to lead MobileODT forward.
Ronny X. Ginor, MD, Venture Partner at OrbiMed Advisors commented: "MobileODT is at the forefront of a critical race to bring contemporary healthcare to the billions of people who do not have ready access to expert physicians. I believe their platform will impact and improve lives across the globe".
Paul Swinney, CEO of Tristel, added: “There are 5.8 billion people worldwide who have no access to healthcare that we would consider adequate. But, a great number of this population has access to a mobile phone. This is a new frontier in medicine that is developing rapidly. MobileODT is at the forefront of this exciting development in healthcare, and has had the foresight to acknowledge the importance of disinfection. We take great comfort in investing alongside the leading healthcare investor, Orbimed Advisors.”
MobileODT builds portable, smart, connected medical devices to enable health providers to reach every patient, everywhere. Their first product, the FDA cleared EVA System, is being used across 43 health systems in the United States, and by public and private providers in 26 countries around the world for cervical cancer screening and diagnosis, and forensic colposcopy for sexual assault examinations. The EVA System has been developed to serve as a practical solution to the challenges of resource limited healthcare: affordable and practical for the nurse or general practitioner at the point-of-care and point-of-treatment, and powerful enough to be used by expert clinicians as a replacement for their larger, more expensive devices, everywhere.
About OrbiMed Advisors
OrbiMed is a leading investment firm dedicated exclusively to the healthcare sector, with $14 billion in assets under management. OrbiMed invests globally across the spectrum of healthcare companies, from venture capital start-ups to large multinational companies utilizing a range of private equity funds, public equity funds, royalty/debt funds, and other investment vehicles. OrbiMed maintains offices in New York City, Herzliya, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Mumbai. As the largest investment firm dedicated to the healthcare sector globally, OrbiMed seeks to be a capital provider of choice. OrbiMed has the flexibility to provide equity and debt capital along with the global team resources required to be an exceptional long-term partner for building world-class healthcare companies.
Tristel is an infection prevention business which is unique in utilising the chemistry chlorine dioxide for the high-level disinfection of medical devices. The company operates in over 40 countries and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
By Matt Levin
Just over 2 months ago I was living comfortably in San Francisco. For 3 years, since graduating from UC Davis, I’d been working at a veterinary diagnostic company. Moving up the ladder, I transitioned from telemarketing to customer service to outside sales, where I sold blood diagnostic instruments to veterinarians all over Northern California. I was exactly where I envisioned myself years prior. Yet, I wondered: What’s next?
I recall a quote from Harun Yahya, a Turkish author, that still resonates with me:
“I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on earth, then I ask myself the same question.”
I struggled to reconcile 2 perspectives: 1.) My career goals, 2.) My life goals. Ideally, they both should coincide; for me, they were growing further apart. I felt increasingly like my career was stagnating, which amplified my desire to reroute my life. I ended up reaching a very difficult point: I recognized a need for change and craved something new, but I’d lost the motivation to do anything about it. I felt stuck. I decided that journeying to Tel Aviv was exactly what I needed. From dealing with a new currency and language, I was going to have to rethink many of the basic underpinnings that I took for granted.
I came to Israel 2 ½ months ago through an umbrella program called MASA, which connects young adults with volunteer and internship opportunities in cities such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Because of this summer’s conflicts, I considered delaying the start-date by 6 months to create a buffer for things to settle down. However, given the unpredictability of the conflict’s timeline and a serendipitous encounter with a family friend, all signs pointed to acting now. After all, there will never be a perfect time for anything. Opportune times, yes. Perfect times, no.
Now, here I am about halfway through my 5 month internship at MobileOCT. Above all adjectives, I would choose “thrilled” to describe my experience. Being part of a company with the resolute vision of changing the world is amazing. As all phases of our mission ramp up, I cannot help but be thankful for this opportunity. My goal in moving here was never to make my friends envious, but I must say that it feels incredible to be an inspiration to those that want to break free from their routines. It’s exciting how viewing things on a global scale can transform people on a personal scale.
With such dynamism and brisk-pacing, I’m constantly learning and developing at MobileOCT. Since the first day of being in Israel and especially the first day at work, I’ve felt like I pressed the “Reset” button and initiated a new stage in my life. Every day brings a new responsibility. Every day is an occasion to set a new pace and reimagine what you want the future to look like.
I understand that routines are necessary. I enjoy my daily cup(s) of coffee; I enjoy reading the news every morning; I value sleep. But, I firmly believe that if you identify a problem, you have 2 choices: 1.) Learn to accept it, or 2.) Fix it. MobileOCT identified a global issue and chose option 2.
As huge fans of TEDMED, the team at MobileOCT was thrilled to be invited to participate in the 2014 TEDMED conference as a startup in the Hive.
A little background: TEDMED is the Medical focused conference put on by the folks behind TED, and a wonderful place to meet people from around the world who are interested in the future of health. This year, TEDMED took place physically in two locations: San Francisco and Washington DC. We were lucky enough to attend the one in DC, which gave us the opportunity to meet with a great number of people who had special insight into the areas we hope to impact: remote and rural areas.
As part of the Hive, we were given a booth where we could demo our mobile colposcope prototype, and meet people interested in expanding medical access to individuals without access to specialists - a group that included investors, representatives of companies including Walgreens, and physicians looking to make the world a better place. It was pretty cool, and a wonderful learning experience.
Many thanks to the Schusterman Foundation for their scholarship to help us get there.
This past month, I enjoyed being out of my comfort zone and learning things that I would not have been learning otherwise. For the first two weeks of the internship, I was given the task of learning about the new 3D printer that we have acquired a week before my arrival, and developing a robust process. Additionally, I was working with Andrew on designing and constructing an encasing for the printer to contain and ventilate plastic fumes. I was excited for both of these projects because they are in realms that I have not been in before. I learned how to operate a 3D printer, and also parts of the assembly through troubleshooting. I learned the process of designing and constructing a physical box, and that it is more difficult than one would think. As a Chemical Engineer, I was more accustomed to simulations and modeling, but for the first time I was in a shop getting dirty. While I am not particularly attracted to that aspect, I enjoyed the experience nonetheless.
Unfortunately, as the internship carried on, I began to feel that I was not really contributing to the company. While I learned a lot about the 3D printer, it was still a monster that I was not able to tame. Even though I printed a few objects in the beginning, suddenly one thing after another began to go wrong with the printer. I spent hours and days trying to figure out various solutions to make our prints better, but to no avail. That is my biggest frustration because I felt that I have not make concrete accomplishments. However, I am happy I was able to develop operational procedures and to train Ilay in what I have learned so he can continue on with the project.
The biggest lesson I have learned this summer, however, is the cultural aspect that I have been curious about. Before this internship, or even this week, I have never really paid attention to news in the Middle East. While in the United States, the Middle East was simply too complicated for me to understand. When conflicts arise, events often escalate so quickly that I would feel bombarded with too many confusing articles. After this week, I learned that my previous confusion was partially the results of the vastly opposing viewpoints. As a neutral bystander in the middle of the increasing tension, I began to pay more attention to try to understand what is happening. Often dissatisfied by one news source, I would turn to another but only to also find myself questioning what I have read. I was frustrated by the propaganda as well as the lack of empathy that Israel faces. Israelis are one of the most genuine people I have met, and I have appreciated the community. Here in Israel, I have been helped by more strangers than I can keep count. Even though the underlying conflict in the Middle East is still more complex than I can understand in one summer, I think I was able to gain a good sense of it and its political implications.
Cervical cancer threatens all women, worldwide, and not only those in low resource settings. Those of us fortunate enough to have access to advanced medical care are still at risk - and MobileOCT encourages every woman to attend a regular cervical screening.
A vocal advocate for cervical cancer awareness, and one of our heroes, is Liz Lange, the fashion designer and entrepreneur. Our own Aric Weinberg was lucky enough to speak with her about her experiences and to get her permission to share her story as a way to contextualize the work we are doing at MobileOCT. The interview was published first on our Indiegogo campaign, and the full interview is below:
By Chloe Pinto
An increasing number of studies in the U.S.A and the U.K. have found that lesbians are much less likely to regularly visit healthcare professionals and partake in preventative care such as cervical cancer screenings.
In the U.S.A. it is recommended that women, over the age of eighteen years old, or who have been sexually active for three years, get Pap smears once every 1 to 3 years. Pap smears are an established method in developed countries to detect cervical abnormalities, such as pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions, that could develop into cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is considered to be a highly preventable cancer as 90 to 98% of cases occur due to the main risk factor: oncogenic strains of HPV (Human Papillomavirus), which can be detected through Pap smears. Other risk factors for cervical cancer include lack of regular cervical cancer screening, smoking, and obesity, all present at a higher incidence rate in the lesbian community.
Recent polls have found that only about 44 to 57% of self-defined lesbians over the age of eighteen had undergone a Pap smear in the last three years, compared to 84% of heterosexual women. Here are a few reasons expressed as to why gay women do not seek out regular gynecological check ups:
Firstly, as in all communities, education and socio-economic status have a huge impact on healthcare seeking patterns. For lesbians, primarily, their very identity has impacted how they access gynecological care. Lesbians often avoid health care centers due to fear of experiencing homophobia or due to past negative experiences linked to their sexual orientation. Lesbians who abstain from mentioning their sexual orientation to their primary health physician are often those who will abstain from seeking gynecological assistance.
Also, lesbians often lack the same reasons for attending a regular gynecological examination. Unlike heterosexual women who might be encouraged to go to a gynecologist for regular screenings in order to acquire birth control prescriptions, homosexual women do not share the same incentive. (One encouraging shift is that, as lesbian women become an increasing part of the pregnant population, they seek out more gynecological advice and help – which in turn increases their exposure to screening).
Secondly, the healthcare community may have contributed to this deficit by sending inconsistent messages about the importance of regular Pap smears for the lesbian community. For many years HPV was thought to be transmitted through heterosexual activity. Thus not surprisingly, when asked, lesbians think of HPV and other sexually transmitted diseases as being a predominantly heterosexual problem.
But we now know that HPV does not discriminate according to sexual preference.
We who care about the women of the lesbian community need to fight these two factors, and encourage women everywhere to attend regular screenings – because they are the only path towards health. As a woman who loves women, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all women, and especially the lesbian and bisexual population, to make an appointment with your gynecologist if it’s been a while, especially for cervical cancer testing. There are plenty of gynecologists today who are informed and sensitive to lesbian specific health care necessities. They can help. Please, keep yourself rosy and healthy!
We're incredibly excited and honored to have taken 1st prize for Vodafone's Wireless Innovation Project, 2014! Below is a press release from our partners at Scripps explaining a bit more about the win and the project:
The Vodafone America Foundation has awarded $300,000 for the collaborative development and testing of a smartphone-based cervical cancer diagnostic tool by MobileOCT, Scripps Health, the International Community Foundation (ICF) and Fronteras Unidas Pro Salud.
Vodafone America presented the team’s first place award as part of their 2014 Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project™ competition on May 29 at the Social Innovation Summit at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Testing led by Scripps Scripps Clinic gynecologist Bruce Kahn, MD, will lead testing efforts through Scripps in San Diego and Fronteras Unidas Pro Salud in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. The International Community Foundation will serve as the project’s fiscal sponsor and provide additional technical expertise given the foundation’s previous involvement in a multi-year mobile health clinical study in Tijuana.
Cervical cancer is the number one cause of cancer death for women in low-resource settings, worldwide. In the developed world, women ages 21 to 65 undergo routine cervical cancer screening (known as a Pap test) at their gynecologist or gynecological clinic.
According to the American Association of Family Physicians, approximately 55 million women each year have a Pap test in the US, and approximately 4 million women each year have an abnormal result. Women with abnormal Pap tests return for a colposcopy, in which the cervix is examined microscopically and biopsies are performed. Treatment, if necessary, can then be provided. However, it is estimated by the World Health Organization that 85 percent of women worldwide do not have adequate access to any cervical cancer screening.
Screening access lacking worldwide About 473,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year, and 253,500 will die from the disease. However, because cervical cancer usually takes 20 years to develop it can be treated before it becomes life threatening for less than $28 and in just a few minutes.
“We are deeply privileged to be recognized by Vodafone Americas’ Wireless Innovation Project, and will use this first place prize to bring our low-cost cancer screening technology to the women who need it most,” said Ariel Beery, CEO of MobileOCT. “Thanks to the support of Vodafone, our team is positioned to demonstrate the potential of using mobile health solutions to offer cost effective, life-saving diagnostics to the billions of women around the world without access to good reproductive health services.” “Through efforts like this one, Scripps is playing a leading role in translating the latest medical technologies into high-quality, cost-effective diagnostic tools and treatments,” Dr. Kahn said. “I am privileged to be a part of this outstanding partnership.”
“The International Community Foundation looks forward to collaborating with MobileOCT, Scripps and Fronteras Unidas Pro Salud in this innovative cross-border clinical effort. The multi-sector collaboration exemplifies the way in which the organizations are working together to advance our common commitment to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer in the San Diego-Tijuana border region and around the world,” said Richard Kiy, president of ICF.
Learn more about Scripps Health, an integrated health care system in San Diego, Calif.
If you read the NYTimes as we do, we hope you saw the amazing article published about Cerviscope, an important effort to provide tools to physicians in the field who are battling cervical cancer.
We are huge fans of Cerviscope - they've pushed the limits, and are continuing to build a great tool to aid physicians.
Most importantly, we are very excited to see that the New York Times is highlighting the depth of the challenge in the field, and the enormity of the burden carried by under-resourced health providers.
While we believe Cerviscope is doing important work, we do differ from them greatly in what we believe the field needs to truly defeat cervical cancer.
First, we recognize that most cervical screening is not done by physicians, but rather by nurses, midwives, and community health workers. For them, magnification alone is good but not sufficient -- a reason the AVIScope failed to succeed years ago. So we provide them with telemedicine capabilities using their mobile phones, so that they can share their images and get advice.
We also will provide them (in a few months) with algorithmic assistance, thanks to the important work Dr. David Levitz on our team is doing with tissue characterization. This will provide objective advice on the device itself so they can detect cancer sooner and with greater accuracy.
Second, we recognize that working in the field is lonely work - and that electronic medical records are important both for the patient and the physician. Which is why we're working hard on providing a portal for organizations to use to track cases, patient histories, and health worker decisions.
And last, we differ in that we're using a mobile phone - so that anyone, anywhere, can pick one up and start working.
We hope many more efforts will sprout to address this critical health issue - and look forward to many more articles celebrating advances in healthcare.
By David Levitz
Some very exciting news came out of SPIE last week: There is going to be a new conference open for papers on Optics in Low-Resource Settings at next year’s Photonics West meeting in San Francisco. This is a huge development. For several years now, Photonics West has been the leading biomedical optics conference in the world. However, the bulk of the research presented at Photonics West came primarily from leading labs in OECD countries, focusing on pushing the boundaries of science – improving the spatial resolution of optical coherence tomography, developing multi-modal endoscopes for imaging a host of internal tissues, spectroscopy, optogenetics, photodynamic and low-light therapies. Until very recently, R&D in biomedical optics consisted almost exclusively of innovations of such high-end systems.
But then something happened. The revolution in digital electronics has significantly reduced both the price and size of sensors, light sources, and computing units. With the smartphone, mobile imaging systems have been placed in the hands of billions of people. Indeed, the cameras in smartphones have better specs than many of the cameras in high-end medical imaging systems. Prototyping has become faster and easier. Not only can mechanical structures be printed inexpensively in 3D, but now, so can lenses and other optical elements. Innovations in nanotechnology and microfluidics enable rapid optical analysis of liquid specimen collected from any or all bodily fluids.
With these trends, many believe that growth in health care technologies in the future will be based on innovative low-cost solutions that bring health care to the masses, which currently lack access to it. This is no small number - approximately 6 billion people, or 85 % of the world’s population, lives outside OECD nations, where resources and facilities available to deliver medical care are limited. The new leaner, smarter optical technologies are thus uniquely positioned to enable emerging markets to leapfrog OECD countries improve the healthcare of their people.
When I was at the NCI-NIBIB’s Point-of-Care Cancer Diagnostics for Low-Resource Settings conference in January, in session after session, the advantages of optical technologies over other methods was clearly obvious. Price, size, scalability: all these factors need to be precisely aligned in order to make an impact. In this rather intimate conference, I was privileged to meet 2 world-renown experts developing optical technologies for use in the field, Aydogan Ozcan and David Erickson. Noticing the excitement at the NIH conference, the 3 of us realized the need for a forum on solutions for global health challenges within the biomedical optics community. There is no better forum than the one at SPIE’s Photonics West, the largest annual gathering of scientists and engineers and clinicians, from both academia and industry. They get together each February in San Francisco to present cutting-edge research. From the moment we approached the organizers of Photonics West, we encountered nothing but enthusiastic support. Experts whose support we did not seek suddenly came forward with suggestions. And now, it’s official – the conference was approved by SPIE, and the Call for Papers has been published.
For us at MobileOCT, this moment is quite encouraging. We helped build a forum where people researching optical solutions for global problems can come and present their work, interact, provide critical feedback, and discuss all those challenges unique to low-resource settings. It is an exciting opportunity to plant the seeds for future innovations that address the problems of the billions of people at the base of the pyramid.
How to Defeat Cervical Cancer
This blog reflects the lessons our team learns on our quest to defeat cervical cancer.