The medical startups: when we’ll be healthy


Last year the global Digital Health market was at $23 billion, according to experts. Among the various Digital Health market categories, monitoring services will account approximately 65%, disease diagnostics will account 17%. The great potential creates the great competition. What’s behind the medical startups success? We’ll try to sort it out.

There is no absolutely safe and profitable thing, as there is no absolute solution for any global problem. The medical industry is resistant to economic crises and solves the basic needs level problems, which definitely guarantees investment stability. In this case, any medical startup does not improve the whole situation, but only finds the answer to one specific question. Commercial success will also depend on consumer evaluation, and this evaluation is often subjective, especially since usually end-users are doctors, they are narrow-profile professionals.

The medical startups development is an important and effective mechanism for the entire industry development. First of all, a talented enthusiasts team is able not only to create a product, but also to respond flexibly to all changes, both in world practice and in their own project. It is precisely a startup that is help to find an innovative solution in the minimal bureaucracy conditions and an established approval system. Any successful startup is also characterized by rapid growth due to the increasing users number and product scalability: the world is waiting for convenient and simple solutions. This is all extremely relevant for the medicine. Today, the medical industry is well advanced, but has a lot of problems. These are global issues, such as providing equal access to quality health care. These are particular diagnosis issues and diseases treatment. And each new project allows to improve and optimize the situation.

The digital solutions use in the disease diagnosis can be divided into two groups: the group using the human factor and digital diagnostics. An example of the first group is a service called Crowded, which allows you to apply the second opinion method. The diagnosis is conducted collectively, by several doctors in the process of analyzing and collecting opinions. In this case, experts can physically be in different countries. The second group is a neural networks ability example. The diagnosis is made by artificial intelligence when handling large amounts of data.

Table 1. Comparison of modern diagnostic methods

Diagnosis Speed +/- +
Human factor +
The whole range of diseases +
Diagnosis Accuracy High accuracy with professional specialist skills High accuracy
Scalability +

Already today, digital technologies solve problems efficiently, hundreds of times faster than an ordinary worker. Well, from a business point of view, digital solutions can be applied anywhere in the world, they are scalable. Thus, digital solutions make it possible to make high-quality diagnostics available in any country in the world. Today there are several hundred working medical startups. The market capacity and the large unsolved problems number suggests that in the next few years the such projects number will double.

The industry leaders for 2017-2018 by profitability are:

  • – Flatiron Healh with $ 1.2 billion. They optimized clinical oncology research;
  • – Proteus Digital Health with $ 1.5 billion. They offer the “smart” pills that inform the patient about the therapeutic medication dose;
  • – Grail with $ 1.4 billion. They invented cancer methods detecting by blood tests;
  • – Intarcia Therapeutics with $ 4 billion. They offer implantable devices for the diabetes treatment.

The key to the success lies in the chosen field, in a team of high-level professionals and in a narrowly focused research area. Any project today is more successful when it deals with a decision on a topic that is separate from the rest. At the same time, medicine remains a high-risk area for an investor when it comes to projects involving invasive interventions, such as blood collection. This is due to the obtaining permits difficulty and duration from national oversight committees. The FDA plays a supervisory role in the United States, and PrEP in Europe. As an example, we can consider the situation with the industry giant Theranos. Theranos had to close one of the laboratories after being accused of inaccurate testing. A fully digital medical project can be considered as more stable for investment.

Human life and health are the supreme value, but at the state level it is also an economic benefit. This is the best guarantee that many medical digital projects will appear, and their products quality in a developed competitive environment will increase.

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