Softbank bets big on digital therapeutics startup Biofourmis in $100M funding round

Digital therapeutics startup Biofourmis just closed a $100 million funding round led by high-profile investor Softbank's Vision Fund 2.

The company combines AI-based data analytics and biosensors to monitor the progress of medical treatment. Returning investors Openspace Ventures, MassMutual Ventures, Sequoia Capital and EDBI also participated in the Series C financing round.

Softbank's Vision Fund 2 launched last year with $108 billion to invest in AI-based technology. The investor also backs drug delivery startup Alto Pharmacy and life sciences company Karius. 

Biofourmis CEO Kuldeep Singh Rajput said the company will benefit from Softbank Vision Fund's large network in Japan and China as an entry point into those markets, as well as synergies with other portfolio companies.

The fast-growing startup has reported strong growth through 2019 and 2020, increasing its revenue significantly through new partnerships and growth with seven pharmaceutical companies and 10 health systems globally.

"In the first half of 2020, we grew almost 10 times as compared to the entire year of 2019," Rajput told Fierce Healthcare.

RELATED: Startup Biofourmis moves into oncology with Gaido Health acquistion

The company now has real-world data for 4.1 million patients—75% in cardiology and 25% in oncology—with plans to expand into other therapeutic areas such as respiratory and pain, he said.

Biofourmis, which moved from Singapore to Boston last year, also made major acquisitions, including wearable biosensor leader Biovotion and Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ oncology-focused digital therapeutics company Gaido Health. 

In May 2019, Biofourmis raised $35 million in a Series B round. The company, which launched in 2015, has raised $144 million to date. 

The startup was also tapped to help doctors and researchers in Hong Kong and Singapore combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The company used its wearable and artificial intelligence technology to aid with disease surveillance and to help researchers better understand the illness. 

In the last seven months, healthcare has fast-forwarded by at least five years, according to Rajput.

“COVID-19 is pushing remote monitoring and digital therapeutics to the forefront of medicine," he said.

Biofourmis' vision is to use digital medicine to empower patients, clinicians and researchers by providing software-as-a-treatment for patients with unmet clinical needs, from post-acute care to optimal medication therapy, Rajput said.

Biofourmis will use the financing to accelerate its global expansion, advance its product pipeline, develop additional care pathways and drive deeper integration with its health system, hospital, pharmaceutical and clinical research clients and partners, Rajput said.

The company also will use the investment to develop, validate and commercialize several released and unreleased digital therapeutics solutions across cardiology, respiratory, oncology and pain, with a focus on the United States and key Asian markets, including Asia Pacific, China and Japan.

RELATED: Boston startup using AI, remote monitoring to fight coronavirus

Rajput said Biofourmis is now laser focused on two business verticals as the company has realigned its internal operations.

Through its therapeutics division, Biofourmis will partner with pharmaceutical companies to use its technology to help increase the efficacy of drug treatments and improve patient outcomes, the company said.

Its second division, Biofourmis Health, will focus on using virtual care models to manage patients remotely as they transition from acute to post-acute care. That division works with hospitals to manage patients with heart failure, coronary artery disease, respiratory illnesses and cancer, especially those undergoing chemo/radiation therapy or CAR-T treatment. 

Biofourmis Health's "home hospital" initiative leverages the company's AI-based remote monitoring to lower healthcare costs—through reductions in length of stay, readmissions and emergency department visits, among other measures, the company said.

The pandemic has driven accelerated adoption of telehealth and remote monitoring technologies. But the challenge is to ensure that clinicians are not overloaded with data, Rajput said.

"We are uniquely positioned as we focus on intervention. As an example, with heart failure, we have 10 million data points for each patient every day. But it's impractical to give clinicians access to that data. We take that data and develop care protocols and care pathways to tell clinicians what needs to be done," he said. "We focus on action rather than just giving them all the data."