Healthcare technology startup Prenuvo Inc. said today it has raised $70 million in an early-stage funding round that will go some way toward helping it achieve its goal of reinventing the traditional physical health check and bringing preventive care to more people.
Today’s Series A round was led by Felicis and saw participation from a host of well-known angel investors, including Nest founder and bestselling author Tony Fadell, Lasker award recipient Dr. Timothy A. Springer, 23andMe Inc. Chief Executive Anne Wojcicki, entrepreneur Rande Gerber, and the wellness investor, supermodel and actress Cindy Crawford.
Prenuvo has created an artificial intelligence-powered alternative to traditional magnetic resonance imaging that can be used to screen and diagnose more than 500 medical conditions, including most solid tumors at Stage 1. Its alternative MRI technology is currently available at seven clinics in the U.S. and can complete a comprehensive scan in less than an hour, compared with the three to four hours it takes to perform a traditional MRI scan.
Moreover, its scanning technology is radiation-free, covering 26 regions and organs, at a fraction of the cost of traditional MRI screenings. It’s less invasive too, with patients able to relax in a spacious room where they can watch TV or listen to music throughout the duration of the scan.
Once the scan is complete, trained radiologists will read the resulting images, with the results – and any recommended next steps – immediately sent to patients and their doctors via the Prenuvo web and mobile applications.
Prenuvo cites research by the Department of Health and Human Services which shows that, while preventive health screenings and primary care consultations can significantly increase life expectancy, just 8% of U.S. adults typically undergo them. Prenuvo founder and Chief Executive Andrew Lacy said that illustrates how the current healthcare system in the U.S. is reactive. For most people, the health information they receive comes too late, once a disease or condition has progressed, he explained. As a result, many conditions are more difficult and expensive to treat, he said.
Prenuvo aims to change this dynamic by making it easier to incorporate affordable, whole-body MRI scans into standard healthcare routines.
“The typical physical hasn’t evolved in decades and lacks predictive power,” said Dr. Raj Attariwala, co-founder and radiologist at Prenuvo. ”Prenuvo gives patients unparalleled clarity and control. Not only can patients make better-informed decisions about their health, but doctors can also make more accurate treatment or monitoring plans with technology that can measure changes that are simply invisible to the naked eye.”
Analyst Holger Mueller of Constellation Research Inc. said prevention of disease has been under-leveraged by many healthcare providers due to an inability to screen people at scale. “MRI is a great technology to change that, due to its non damaging, but sharp imaging capabilities,” Mueller said. “The problem has always been cost, so it is good to see startups like Prenuvo getting into the space, lowering the cost and providing wider access.”
Prenuvo said it plans to use today’s funding to open an additional five clinics over the next year, in New York City, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta and Bethesda. The funding will also be used to invest in its AI team and develop new radiology tools, as well as custom advanced MRI builds.
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