Philips augments cardiac AI diagnostic programs with Cardiologs acquisition

Following a multibillion-dollar acquisition late last year to grow its cardiac connected care franchise, Philips is continuing the effort with a new deal to take over Cardiologs, a French startup developing artificial-intelligence-powered diagnostics.

Cardiologs’ software will be folded in with Philips’ electrocardiograms and wearable heart monitors for the hospital and elsewhere. This will include telehealth devices the medtech giant picked up last December in its $2.8 billion deal for BioTelemetry, which helps remotely track more than 1 million cardiac patients annually. The financial terms of the Cardiologs transaction were not disclosed.

Earlier this year, Cardiologs unveiled a program that applies its ECG analysis tools for the quick detection of arrhythmias and other cardiac episodes to the miniaturized sensors embedded in smartwatches.  

Instead of capturing a wrist-mounted ECG and emailing it to a physician in a PDF, as can be the case with the Apple Watch, Cardiologs’ app platform collects and flags the readings that may require the most urgent attention while offering doctors a billing solution for the time spent on analysis. 

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“Offering superb clinical insights as well as automated clinical reporting, Cardiologs’ medical-grade AI technology and data scientists will be a strong addition to our growing portfolio of cardiac solutions for hospital and ambulatory settings,” Roy Jakobs, Philips’ chief business leader for connected care, said in a statement

Cardiologs also has FDA-cleared and CE marked machine learning algorithms and heart disorder screening programs that are designed to work with ECG readouts from a range of other hardware manufacturers. 

So far the company has built a database of more than 20 million cardiac recordings, and Philips plans to use its global footprint to accelerate the use of its technology worldwide.

The startup last raised $15 million through a series A round in January 2020, led by the Parisian venture capital firm Alven, with additional backing from Bpifrance, ISAI, Kurma Diagnostics, Idinvest Partners and Paris Saclay Seed Fund. 

“We look forward to the opportunity to expand the business as part of Philips, maintaining vendor neutrality and continuing to work with third party vendors to drive further adoption of digital health solutions globally,” Cardiologs co-founder and CEO Yann Fleureau said.

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Philips’ connected care division took a financial hit this year following a worldwide recall of millions of its continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP) machines and ventilators for sleep apnea. Repairs and replacements are expected to stretch into the coming months. 

Affecting nearly two dozen models produced since 2007, Philips said pieces of the polyurethane foam lining used to dampen the sounds of the pump’s motor can break off and potentially be inhaled or swallowed while the user sleeps. 

The recall led to a steep drop-off in Philips’ third-quarter connected care sales, which cover CPAP and BiPAP machines: a 39% decrease compared to the same three months in 2020, when respiratory devices were in high demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.