Health care technology firm Casana now has raised $46 million in total capital, with $30 million coming from a recent Series B funding round.
Rochester-based Casana plans to use the money to speed up the development and commercialization of the firm’s Heart Seat, a cuffless blood pressure monitor built into the toilet seat. The company’s first product aims to help with the management and control of hypertension. Casana is also investing in several studies to investigate the potential value of the Heart Seat for health systems and risk-bearing organizations, officials say.
“In a world overrun with push notifications, nudges, and reminders, our product needs none of that,” says Casana CEO Austin McChord. “The Heart Seat is different from virtually every other vitals monitoring product, in that it takes no time out of your day and works best when you forget it’s even there.”
Originally developed by founder Nicholas Conn at Rochester Institute of Technology, the Heart Seat is designed to help physicians keep tabs on patients between doctor visits. A cloud-connected, self-contained cardiovascular monitoring system, the Heart Seat measures parameters linked to heart health.
The seat has three embedded sensors: two silver electrodes that measure a heart’s electrical signal for an EKG; a small black rectangle with red and infrared LEDs that make up the photoplethysmogram, which determines oxygen saturation; and the ballistocardiogram, which tracks subtle shifts in body weight when force is exerted upward or downward with heart beats, providing insight into the mechanical properties of the heart.
“As health care moves from the doctor’s office into the home, convenient home monitoring is becoming increasingly important for patient care,” says Jeffrey Leiden M.D., chairman of Casana and former CEO and chairman of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. “Casana’s Heart Seat holds the unique promise of reliably and conveniently measuring multiple health parameters including blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation, all in the privacy of the patient’s home.”
The Series B round was led by Morningside with participation from Matrix Partners, a large vertically integrated health care provider, and Series A investors General Catalyst and Outsiders Fund.
“Casana’s Heart Seat has the potential to fundamentally change the way cardiovascular disease is monitored, by changing the venue of care from the clinic to the home and providing insights to the clinician,” says Gerald Chan, cofounder of Morningside. “We invest in bold ideas backed by solid science, and are proud to partner with Casana in this endeavor.”
The funds are expected to help Casana accelerate its bid for Food and Drug Administration approval. The company hopes to bring the device to market this year.
Growth in home health monitoring is likely to work in Casana’s favor. The pandemic pushed health care systems and providers to rely on remote patient monitoring devices like wearables outside the clinician’s office, to avoid exposure to the COVID-19 virus and its variants. Sensors like those in the Heart Seat are the next step in the evolution of remote patient monitoring.
A MarketsandMarkets report predicts the global remote patient monitoring market will grow to $117.1 billion in 2025 from $23.2 billion in 2020. By 2025, the RPM sector is expected to top $72.8 billion in the United States. Though patient compliance poses a challenge, Casana officials aim to be able to provide daily monitoring and reporting effortlessly, officials say.
Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor.
As I try not to chuckle as I ponder the possibilities of monitoring ones vital statistics via the buttocks during ones daily evacuation a number of concerns come to mind. What is the weight limit for the crappers seat? How long must one be seated to obtain accurate data? Is the seat cushioned for ones derriere? Will the device withstand the daily use and abuse it will be forced to endure? Must one leave the seat up when not in use? Will it survive the erratic aim during micturition and not short circuit and cause a shocking end? Is it compatible with a bidet?
But why only vital signs? When one is so near two other specimens which will certainly pass by the seat I am perplexed that no remote measuring of urine and stool has been contemplated . And lastly will the average plumber be qualified to install this medical device at ones home or will it require a whole new medical specialty?