[Funding alert] Healthtech startup AarogyaAI raises $700K in seed round from Redstart Labs, Avaana Capital
Healthtech startupInnovations has raised $700,000 (Rs 5.2 crore approx) as a part of its seed funding round from (India)-backed Redstart Labs and Avaana Capital (Seed Program). Existing investors Entrepreneur First (EF) and First In Ventures also participated in the round.
The funding will primarily be used for Research & Development (R&D), team expansion, validation, and pilot deployments, said Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Praapti Jayaswal.
The two-year-old startup, which ranked no. 1 among YourStory's Tech50 2021 list of most promising early stage startups, marries genome sequencing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide the correct combination of antibiotics for drug-resistant diseases like Tuberculosis (TB).
Founded in 2019 by scientists Praapti Jayaswal and Avlokita Tiwari, the startup has built a SaaS (software-as-a-service) platform where the DNA sequence from the bacteria, also known as genome sequencing, infecting a patient can be uploaded, which is then analysed using a machine learning (ML) algorithm and AI to generate a report showing the patient’s comprehensive drug susceptibility status.
This includes a list of drugs and their combinations that will and will not work for the patient. The report can then be used by doctors to prescribe a more potent combination of antibiotics, significantly bringing down the duration of the treatment to less than six months.
The software has been validated internally and has reached its external validation and pilot testing stage. It is expected to be rolled out for commercial use by mid-2022.
Backed by UK-based investor Entrepreneur First, AarogyaAI was accelerated at Illumina Accelerator, San Francisco, USA. It had raised a bridge round through the accelerator in 2020.
“Genome sequencing is now at the heart of discovering drugs, ascertaining their efficacy and finding more about sickness than ever. AarogyaAI team has taken up the challenge to solve for an extremely crucial aspect of treating one the most ancient diseases. This would enable them to lay down the foundations for creating a platform that would hopefully help in several areas in research as well as clinical care,” said Vibhore Sharma, Partner, Redstart Labs.
Operating on a B2B2C (business-business-to-consumer) model, AarogyaAI’s customers include diagnostic labs and hospitals, and pharmaceuticals in the long run as it accumulates more data to provide insights about antibiotic development. The startup is also focussing on building dashboard analytics that showcase disease demographics, spread of drug resistance, and the patterns of emerging drug resistance.
It aims to scale pan-India through five to seven public and three to four private chains by 2022 and expand to other countries that are grappling with TB.
“Experts believe that superbugs will cause the next pandemic and we need to start staying ahead in this game with pathogens, rather than playing catch up. It’s time we exploit cutting edge technologies, translate years of research to apply in the real world. We need a way to predict the nature of these pathogens and make predictions and drugs that can cut them off before the harm they do,” said Praapti.