CEO: Avner Halperin
Based: Waltham, MA
Founded: 2004
Company website

The scoop: Patient monitoring is a hot and growing field in med tech, and EarlySense jumped on the bandwagon before the hype set in. The company's EarlySense System offers a contract-free way to continuously monitor patients' heart rate, respiratory rate and motion, potentially allowing healthcare professionals to pinpoint early signs of patient deterioration and prevent falls and ulcers.

The system includes multiple components, such as a central display station that gives data in real time for as many as 40 patients and a chair sensor that can monitor a patient's vital signs when they leave their bed. EarlySense's technology is particularly useful for surgical and general care patients monitored by nurses every 4 to 6 hours, the company said on its website, as personal handheld devices or large screens can immediately notify healthcare professionals when something goes awry.

"A three to four hour clinical round that a nurse would typically do, we're capturing between data points," EarlySense President Tim O'Malley told FierceMedicalDevices. "It gives nurses insight into a development that they might otherwise not pick up and provides a lot of insight and data over that period of time."

What makes EarlySense Fierce: EarlySense has been on a roll with its patient monitoring system this past year. In February 2014, the company expanded its partnership with diagnostics giant Welch Allyn to combine its system with Welch Allyn's clinical surveillance product. In July, EarlySense scored FDA clearance for its Chair Sensor Solution.

Earlier this year, the company got an FDA nod for its Bedside Monitor, which continuously displays a patient's heart rate and respiration rate and their risk of falling if they leave the bed.

And the company has already attracted the attention of some big name funders, with strategic investor Samsung Ventures and Welch Allyn backing a $20 million financing round in January. In April, Japan's Mitsui chipped in another $5 million in funding, bringing EarlySense's Series F round to $25 million.

EarlySense has also made waves with recent collaborations. In February, the company signed on Korea's Woo-Jin Meditec as its distributor after winning regulatory clearance for its product in the country. In April, EarlySense announced that it would team up with Mitsui to bring its patient monitoring system to the country, expanding its presence in Asia. In September, the company inked a deal with Beurer to roll out its contact-free sleep and wellness sensor in Europe.

But EarlySense isn't stopping there. The company "has a fair amount of clinical validation on the studies published or presented" about its technology, O'Malley said--and that's no happy accident.

"For an early-stage, young med tech company, those activities don't come until later," he said. "We realized early on that this was a requirement for the caregiver to feel comfortable with the technology."

What to look for: The company has already moved into the "non-traditional healthcare space," O'Malley said, offering its technology at rehab centers and other venues outside the hospital.

Now, EarlySense is planning to add functionality to its system and bring its system to different care environments. O'Malley used the example of a blood pressure cuff to explain the company's innovation process. Although healthcare professionals have measured blood pressure the same way for years, companies could take the technology and modernize it.

"We look at that and say, how can we optimize that process and drive it to a more modern state? How do we take variables out to make it more predictable for patients?" O'Malley said. "These are things we will continue to look at to see how we can add more functionality to features caregivers use every day."

Further down the road, the company could also apply its technology in home settings, O'Malley said.

"Although we're a small, early stage company, we're really a technology and clinically driven company," he said. "As long as we hear from the users that they need more, better solutions as they talked about with blood pressure, we will absolutely continue to drive down that road."

-- Emily Wasserman (email | Twitter)

For more:
EarlySense nabs Mitsui as Japan partner, investor and ups financing to $25M
Samsung, Welch Allyn back $20M round for contact-free monitoring startup EarlySense
EarlySense pulls in $15M to boost patient monitoring tech sales