One Drop launches Bayer-boosted AI program for preventing heart disease

The digital diabetes maven One Drop is taking new steps into the broader healthcare world with an artificial intelligence-powered platform aimed at preventing cardiovascular disease, co-developed with the pharmaceutical giant Bayer.

It’s the pair’s first joint project launch since Bayer first announced plans to help One Drop expand its clinical reach in late 2019—alongside sizable investments in the company over the past two years.

One Drop first became known for its stylish, chrome-plated glucose monitors, with its finger lancets, digital testers and strips being sold for a time as an iPhone accessory on Apple store shelves.

Using the more than 25 billion data points it has collected as the bedrock, this past May, One Drop built up and received two European approvals for AI programs designed to help predict trends in a person’s glucose levels and their blood pressure. The company also says it is developing a skin-based sensor capable of tracking multiple diabetes-related biomarkers over the course of a day. 

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Bayer, meanwhile, has set its sights on opening up One Drop’s platform to the multitudes of patients in the areas of cancer care and women’s health—and, starting now, heart disease.

The new cardiovascular module aims to provide users with a personalized digital health program with the goal of steering patients away from complications such as heart failure and stroke, including among people with Type 2 diabetes.

"The new CVD prevention module comes from combining our respective expertise to jointly bridge the gap between healthcare and technology,” Jeanne Kehren, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, chief information officer and head of digital and commercial innovation, said in a statement.

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The software connects to wearable devices to track blood pressure and weight, including hardware supported by One Drop’s recent partnership with the smartwatch maker Withings. It merges that information with data on food, medications, physical activity, glucose and A1C. 

The program then coaches its users toward helpful habits in weight management as well as maintaining physical activity and a healthy diet. The telehealth software can also put users in touch with registered nurses for one-on-one appointments, while the CE-marked blood pressure prediction engine offers real-time recommendations.

The German drugmaker Bayer previously led One Drop’s $40 million series B round in 2019, before returning less than a year later to head up its $34.7 million series C, in addition to pledging another $64 million tied to development fees and commercial milestones over the course of their collaborations.