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‘Hospitals at home’ start-up expands in clinical trials

A UK technology firm that helps the country’s health service to provide “hospitals at home” is expanding further into clinical trials through the acquisition of a German rival. 

Huma Therapeutics, which enables clinicians to monitor patients remotely, has bought Alcedis, a clinical trials specialist, for an approximate valuation of more than £20 million ($24.1 million.)

The tie-up will allow Huma to use its technology to monitor patients taking part in clinical trials, reducing the number of in-person visits to hospitals and clinics, and enabling participants to provide a greater amount of data at more regular intervals. 

Dan Vahdat, chief executive officer and founder of Huma, said the technology would provide trial participants with a “sense of security and comfort,” as they would be continually monitored using their smartphone. Participants are called in if doctors spot a worrying change in their data, for example blood oxygen or heart rate. 

Huma’s platform is already being used across England and Wales —monitoring people with Covid, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and after surgery. Its software enables doctors to keep tabs on patients using a mobile app and also uses wearable devices to gather data on heart rate and oxygen saturation. The company also used its technology to support AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid vaccine trial during the pandemic.

Huma, which was founded in 2011 as Medopad, has grown as Covid accelerated a shift toward digital health. The company lost £27.5 million on revenue of £5.3 million for 2021, in a year in which it raised $130 million in an investment round led by the corporate venture funds of Bayer and Hitachi. It expects revenue of around £15 million for 2022.

The National Health Service aims to provide an extra 2,500 so-called virtual ward beds to increase capacity, as the health service reaches crisis point. During Covid, Huma created a remote patient monitoring smartphone app, for patients with suspected or confirmed Covid-19— tracking heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygen to spot patients at risk of deterioration. Through this, the company said it reduced hospital admissions by a third.

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