FIRE1 raises $50M to develop remote heart monitoring device

FIRE1 CEO Conor Hanley. (Image: University College Dublin)

FIRE1 has raised $50 million to advance remote heart monitoring technology. The device is designed to enable the remote monitoring of heart failure patients and thereby improve outcomes in a group that suffers from persistently high mortality rates.

Gilde Healthcare led the series C round with the support of fellow new investors Gimv and Seventure. FIRE1 also received cash from all the companies that participated in its $7.5 million series B in 2016 and earlier A round, including Lightstone Ventures, Medtronic and New Enterprise Associates.

The syndicate has come together to equip FIRE1 to take its remote heart monitoring technology forward. FIRE1 has said little about the specifics of the device—and has generally kept a low profile since opening its doors in 2014—but its credentials hint at why well-known investors have lined up to give it sizable sums of money.

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FIRE1 is the fifteenth startup to emerge from West Coast medical device incubator The Foundry. The incubator’s previous successes include Ardian, Concentric Medical, Evalve and Twelve. That clutch of startups were bought by Abbott, Medtronic and Stryker in deals worth north of $1.5 billion upfront.

RELATED: Medtronic backs stealthy Foundry startup as it nabs $7.5M

With FIRE1, The Foundry has given a start to a medical device company with ambitions to improve outcomes in heart failure patients.   

“Heart failure is a life-threatening disease and a significant burden on patients and healthcare systems. Managing patients at home with novel digital health-enabled solutions will help intercept the trajectory of the disease and reduce the need for hospitalization,” FIRE1 CEO Conor Hanley said in a statement.

The current difficulty of caring for heart failure patients is illustrated by data from an annual survey carried out in the U.K. that shows around 30% of heart failure patients die in the first year after they are discharged from hospital. FIRE1 wants to reduce this number by enabling doctors to remotely keep tabs on the condition of patients after they return home.