Knownwell acquires Alfie Health to integrate AI into its primary and obesity care services

On the heels of a $20 million funding round six months ago, Knownwell, an integrated primary and metabolic care provider, acquired a competitor in the obesity treatment market, Alfie Health.

Knownwell, a startup backed by Andreesen Horowitz, Series Seed Lead, Flare Capital Partners and other investors, is integrating Alfie Health's AI-powered platform that generates evidence-based recommendations for weight management.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Alexander Singh, founder and CEO of Alfie Health, will join Knownwell as head of analytics. The company also expanded its C-suite by hiring James Chaukos as chief operating officer and John Frager as chief growth officer. Chaukos joins Knownwell from Cricket Health, now Interwell Health, a value-based kidney care provider. Frager comes onboard focusing primarily on growing Knownwell’s relationships with health systems and local provider groups, as he did extensively at Carbon Health.

Knownwell executives said the company will integrate Alfie’s unique AI-powered ObesityRx platform into its current care model. Alfie’s technology analyzes patient medical history to determine the most effective treatment strategies for sustainable metabolic health improvements, leveraging a data-driven approach to balance cost and improve outcomes, executives said.

Knownwell, launched in 2023, provides both in-person and virtual services for weight-inclusive primary care and metabolic health and serves patients across Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. Its adults have the option to see Knownwell for either primary care needs, obesity care needs, or both. 

"How we're most different for everyone in the market is we're trying to establish a healthcare home for patients with overweight and obesity," Brooke Boyarsky Pratt, Knownwell founder and CEO, said in an interview. 

Pratt founded the company alongside Angela Fitch, M.D., chief medical officer at Knownwell who is a metabolic health and primary care physician and immediate past president of the Obesity Medicine Association.

Pratt struggled with obesity her entire life, she explained to Fierce Healthcare in an interview back in December. “I have often faced less than ideal healthcare experiences,” Pratt said. “I was just trying to find, is there a doctor who I can go to who can take me seriously.”

There's been a boom in weight management and obesity care businesses driven by the demand and attention to newer weight loss drugs like GLP-1s. 

Pratt says Knownwell differentiates itself based on several key factors—a strong focus on primary care, offering the option of both virtual and in-person care and working with commercial, Medicaid and Medicare health plans to make weight-inclusive healthcare more accessible. Knownwell has no membership fees.

"We're trying to be the accessible healthcare home for patients with overweight and obesity," Pratt said. "When it comes to the metabolic care that we offer, given that our chief medical officer and pretty much everyone else has come from academic medicine, we aim to offer the most comprehensive, rigorous approach, which includes anti-obesity medications, nutrition, movement, behavioral health and remote patient monitoring."

With the acquisition, Knownwell will combine Alfie Health's technology with the company's evidence-based care model and strong patient experience differentiation, according to the company. 

The adoption of Alfie's AI-powered technology accelerates clinical decision support efforts, deepens the company’s value-based care infrastructure and enables clinicians to provide the highest-quality, comprehensive metabolic health treatment on the market as it scales, executives said.

"We want our clinicians to be armed with the latest research such as how blood pressure medications interact with patients with overweight and obesity. But it's really hard to keep clinical decision support tools up to date in every disease area that affects primary care," Pratt said. "Having an engine that can ingest all of the latest research, to be a co-pilot for physicians, who cannot be experts in liver and kidney conditions as primary care covers so many specialties, for us, that was very important to have technology that helps to augment that."

The use of Alfie's AI technology to analyze patient medical history and provide recommendations also helps to standardize Knownwell's comprehensive approach to primary and metabolic health, Pratt noted.

"We get full medical records and we do a one-hour consultation with a specialist and the patient. Having a tool that can help our clinicians parse through years and years of medical records and parse through those social and behavioral surveys we do with patients before their first visit is key. It's just too much data for a human to consume," she said ."We have an EMR [electronic medical record] where the doctor charts. As we're continuing to integrate Alfie, as the doctor is seeing the patient and coming up with a care plan, the chart will have a pop-up that provides recommendations based on the latest research and the insurance benefits available to the patient. It provides physicians with a copilot that can ingest all the data we're taking in."

The physician decides whether to include those AI-driven recommendations and develops a care plan.

With the integration of Alfie's technology, Knownwell will have the "smartest clinical decision support" in the industry, which will help to standardize the company's approach to metabolic health, Pratt noted.

Building on its momentum following its $20 million series A round in December, Knownwell has been growing its leadership team and investing in technology, which includes this latest acquisition.

"We have a few health system partnerships that are coming online here soon," Pratt noted. The company also launched a teen program for weight management. 

The startup also aims to grow its footprint.

While Knownwell only has one brick-and-mortar site currently, the company plans to expand to more states later this summer.

"We're taking a thoughtful, paced approach," Pratt noted.

"We also have been investing in infrastructure with people, processes and tools to make sure that when we open new clinics that the same care you get in New England will be the same care you get somewhere else. We want to make sure that our clinical processes and quality care are ready to scale," she said.

As the popularity of GLP-1s continues to grow in parallel to their cost and unpredictable access, Knownwell wants to lead a shift in the narrative from health systems, payers and employers having a GLP-1 strategy, to them having a comprehensive obesity treatment strategy, executives said.

“This acquisition by Knownwell helps us deliver on our mission to provide patients in need with best-in-class obesity management,” Singh said in a statement. “Knownwell’s leadership, clinical expertise, and hybrid model make them a leader in obesity management, and their hybrid model will strengthen our high-touch care approach to improve patient results.”

With AI-driven recommendations, there is the potential to improve health outcomes for patients, Pratt noted.

"Alfie has compelling research, but it's not peer-reviewed and it's not double-blinded, that suggests that their ability to prescribe older medications, so the combination of medications as opposed to just GLP-1s, outperforms the clinical research. It passes our sniff test because we think there are archetypes of patients and if you're better able to identify them, then you're able to give them different types of treatment. We think, over time, we will be able to prove with real, peer-reviewed research, that this actually leads to better outcomes for patients," she said.