Philips Chooses Mayo Spinoff
Ambient Clinical Analytics—an early-stage company spun off from Mayo Clinic research and housed in Mayo’s Rochester business incubator—has reached a significant milestone with the imminent rollout of its patient monitoring software, AWARE, which aggregates and organizes once-scattered vital patient information into a single, easy-to-read interface.
Dutch multi-national Royal Philips announced Feb. 29 it was debuting a real-time patient information “dashboard” developed by Ambient. A worldwide rollout will follow in the second half of 2016 as a key upgrade to its line of critical-care patient monitors. Developed by Ambient under the name AWARE, Philips has renamed the product the IntelliSpace Critical Care Console. The move comes less than a year after Ambient received FDA 510(k) pre-market clearance for AWARE (which stands for Ambient Warning and Response Evaluation).
Philips’ adoption of the technology marks a big step for Ambient, founded in 2014 by five Mayo clinicians after landing $1.1 million in seed funding from Mayo Clinic Ventures, Social + Capital Partnership and others. The Philips rollout means the startup will earn its first revenues this year and will likely graduate soon from the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator, according to CEO Al Berning, who expects to record “several million dollars” in revenue in the coming year.
“We expect to hire more people as we go throughout the year,” Berning says. “Also, as we continue developing other products, we’ll need to add sales staff to support that activity. Per our plans, by the end of the year we expect to outgrow the accelerator.”
Ambient’s team of Mayo doctors—Vitaly Herasevich, Ognjen Gajic, Andy Boggust, Vern Smith and Brian Pickering—developed the system in conjunction with Philips after receiving a $16 million research grant from the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, which saw the technology as way to reduce health care costs by making the presentation of emergency room and critical care patient data more efficient.
According to Ambient, advances in health information technology have led to situations where ER doctors are not as computer literate as necessary to keep up. Errors are made, leading to delays and inefficiency in care for the sickest (and most expensive) patients. These doctors struggle at computer workstations with disparate databases and non-standardized data sets.
In a press announcement, co-founder Herasevic described information overload in intensive care situations as “incredible,” and “placing a burden on the acting clinician to make quick and effective patient care decisions while making sense of mountains of information. This new solution is formatted as a real-time dashboard that organizes the way a clinician processes data,” thus reducing stress and saving time.
Berning told TCB that Philips’ marketing reach will be crucial in introducing the technology around the world.
“Within health IT in particular, the large companies, especially in the electronic medical records space, are primarily U.S. companies that are just starting to venture internationally,” he said. “So Philips is actually the perfect partner for us, and we’re very enthusiastic about quickly making Ambient an international company. Philips has its patient monitoring platforms in virtually every country on the planet, and anywhere those are, our product can be tied into them as a module.”
Berning estimates the potential worldwide market for Ambient’s technology is “several billion dollars.”
Ambient is one of a series of recent Mayo spinoffs in which the clinicians who conducted research participated as owners and officers. As part of this entrepreneurial shift, Mayo has ramped up its seed-stage venture funding and has established the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator in downtown Rochester, where it nurtures Mayo-based start-ups and connects the firms with other venture backers.