In one of the more apt examples of bringing medtech into the home and meeting patients on their terms, the developer of a smart toilet seat has raised $30 million to pursue an FDA clearance.
Casana aims to provide people with a regular heart health scan without intruding on their daily routine, with electronic sensors for logging heart rate and blood pressure built directly into the cushion.
“The Heart Seat is different from virtually every other vitals monitoring product, in that it takes no time out of your day and works best when you forget it’s even there,” Casana CEO Austin McChord said in a statement.
The startup’s series B round brings its lifetime fundraising total up to $46 million. It was founded in 2018 by a postdoc at the Rochester Institute of Technology, initially under the name Heart Health Intelligence. The financing was led by Morningside, with additional backing from Matrix Partners and the company’s series A investors General Catalyst and Outsiders Fund.
Last year, Casana launched the first study of the Heart Seat through its Smart Integrated Technologies Lab—or the SIT Lab, for short—to test out the hardware in a controlled environment.
Now, the company plans to complete clinical testing, obtain an FDA green light and begin its commercial launch before the end of this year.
Casana is also exploring studies to examine how the routine collection of heart data can help health systems and insurers catch early changes in cardiovascular health and act preventively to address issues such as high blood pressure.
Another of the company’s commercial goals is to have hospitals provide patients with the device as they are discharged, so they can scan themselves at home following surgery and help head off readmissions.
Since the company’s debut, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed new value on remote patient monitoring technologies—a market that passed $23.2 billion in 2020, and is on track to grow past $72 billion by 2025, Casana estimated. However, many current devices see infrequent adherence or can be too burdensome on users with daily notifications and reminders.
“As healthcare moves from the doctor’s office into the home, convenient home monitoring is becoming increasingly important for patient care,” said Jeffrey Leiden, Casana’s chairman of the board, and former CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals.