Savonix has padded out its series A round with $9.6 million in extension financing, bringing its total haul up to $14.7 million to support the development of its mobile app that tests for signs of cognitive decline.
Using machine learning and population health data, Savonix hopes to spot the early symptoms of diseases ranging from diabetes to dementia. The extra money will help the company expand its platform to markets in the U.S. and Asia, according to Savonix’s CEO and founder, Mylea Charvat.
“The additional funding will also enable us to further develop and add additional features to our lead product Savonix Mobile, to better assess, track and monitor an individual’s cognitive health and to build personalized treatment plans to prevent and manage cognitive decline,” Charvat said in a statement.
The round was co-led by Fusion Fund and Wavemaker Partners, the regional partner of the Draper Venture Network for Southern California and Southeast Asia. DEFTA Partners, as well as Savonix’s previous backers Rethink Impact and DigiTx Partners, also participated.
“Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of death and disability in aging countries like Japan, far exceeding heart disease,” said Paul Santos, managing partner at Wavemaker. “Yet, despite Asia's aging population, there are few clinical neuropsychologists in Asia leaving patients to endure long wait times and expensive pen-and-paper tests.”
Savonix’s tests are digital versions of the traditional paper tests that have been in use for decades, but the company incorporates modern, touchscreen-based metrics such as taps, dragging-and-dropping, scrolling and drawing while accounting for average response times by age group.
Using artificial intelligence to develop a wider range of digital biomarkers has become an intriguing prospect for the field, so much so that the two richest men in the world have backed research into the effort.
Through the Diagnostic Accelerator at the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, tech titans Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, among others, have helped fund grants into digital tools and biomarkers to detect cognitive decline.
AI-powered analyses of subtle changes in voice recordings, for example, could help one day replace the current clinical standards of brain scans and spinal taps, which can be expensive and invasive, Gates said.