Where Caption Health is trying to broaden the use of ultrasound imaging and diagnostics through AI, Butterfly Network is going the hardware route—by making a cheap, portable, handheld transducer that plugs into a smartphone or tablet and can be used just about anywhere.
It’s an approach that’s not only snared it a spot on our list but also the interest of hedge fund Glenview Capital Management, which just recently agreed to buy and take the company public in a $1.5 billion deal—but we’ll keep Butterfly in our top 10 until that transaction officially closes in the first quarter of 2021.
Earlier this year, Glenview launched a shell subsidiary company with the sole purpose of sniffing out a new merger or investment opportunity, Longview Acquisition. That unit would go on to raise $360 million for its efforts through a May IPO on the New York Stock Exchange—and spend the next months evaluating more than 50 potential quarries before landing on Butterfly.
After the takeover, Butterfly will take Longview’s place on the NYSE, with Glenview set to control 7.6% of the company’s stock, alongside its previous backers—including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the investment management firm Baillie Gifford and the Hong Kong-based manufacturer Fosun Industrial.
Butterfly’s point-of-care iQ device is cleared in the U.S. for multiple applications across the entire human body, including adult and pediatric scans of the heart, abdomen, blood vessels and lungs, such as to monitor pneumonia in patients with COVID-19.
The $2,000 system is also in use in low-resource areas around the world to provide diagnostic imaging and has become a tool for more than 30,000 healthcare practitioners overall, according to the former Fierce 15 winner.
That includes providers at Atrium Health, which put the device into wide practice at more than 30 of the health system’s locations, including its COVID-19 testing centers, emergency departments, intensive care units, and Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute.
“For decades, the mental image of a doctor has been someone with a stethoscope around their neck. Going forward, this revolutionary portable ultrasound device may be just as critical for the medical professional,” said Rasu Shrestha, Atrium’s chief strategy and transformation officer. “Our teams are already using it to provide care for heart patients, and we anticipate this device ushering in a new era of frontline care.”
Butterfly also recently unveiled a newer version of its device, the iQ+, and launched a collaboration with the American College of Cardiology to help establish point-of-care ultrasound as a standard practice for diagnosing heart conditions.