Mobile medical app provider reels in $25M to expand innovative monitoring system

An iPad with AirStrip's AirStrip ONE mobile monitoring system--Courtesy of AirStrip

Mobile medical app provider AirStrip reeled in $25 million in strategic capital to beef up its product offerings and develop its innovative health monitoring system for smartphones.

The San Antonio, TX-based company plans to use the funds to support growth of its AirStrip ONE mobile technology, a next-generation system that collects clinical data from multiple sources and makes them accessible through mobile devices, the company said in a statement. Existing investors including Sequoia Capital and Wellcome Trust contributed financing along with new investors Dignity Health and Leerink Partners.

One in 6 babies born in the U.S. is monitored with AirStrip ONE and at-risk patients were monitored 1.2 million times in 2013 using the system, demonstrating the industry's support for the company's innovative technology, CEO Alan Portela said in a statement.

"The market has responded with great enthusiasm to what we have accomplished to date. We expect to take our mHealth leadership to new levels with upcoming announcements around real-time processing and clinical data analytics," he said.

But AirStrip could face more than a few obstacles in bringing new products to market, as the FDA continues to strengthen its oversight of mobile healthcare products. Last year, the agency released its final rules for developing mobile medical apps, saying that it would take a heavier hand in regulating apps that turned a smartphone/tablet into a de facto medical device. Lawmakers were not satisfied, and a bipartisan group of senators issued a letter to the FDA earlier this year urging it to take a heavier hand in mobile medical app regulation.

Meanwhile, big-name companies are cashing in on the trend and developing mobile healthcare apps for at-home use. Apple ($AAPL) plans to roll out its mobile health and fitness platform, HealthKit, for iOS 8 and Mac this fall, and sat down with FDA officials last December to discuss its new mobile products, sensors and glucometers. Earlier this year, Samsung won FDA 510(k) clearance for its S Health mobile app that works with different health monitoring devices to track vital signs.

Smaller device outfits are also jumping on the bandwagon and looking for innovative ways to personalize care. Cue's eponymous iOS device allows users to test their vital levels using an at-home tabletop analyzer and an iPhone app. Philadelphia-based Biomeme is delving into smartphone diagnostics with an iPhone-based product that checks for diseases and runs biological diagnostics in almost any setting.

- read the MedCityNews story
- here's AirStrip's statement