Rochester Medical Analytics Firm Apri Health Lands $500K Debt Financing
Rochester-based medical data analytics firm Apri Health, cofounded by former Mayo Clinic doctor Mark Ereth, landed $500,000 in convertible debt financing as it seeks to expand its market focus.
A Canadian regulatory filing shows the company got the investment this spring from Alternate Health Corp. (CSE: AHG) of Vancouver, a health care holding company connected with Apri co-founder and president Dr. Jamison Feramisco, which is operating in the medical cannabis industry.
Apri Health was founded four years ago as Transfuse Solutions in the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator startup incubator. It had the backing of Rochester Area Economic Development Inc., which administers city- and state-funded small business loan programs and runs the incubator with a mission to translate Mayo medical innovations into local entrepreneurism.
Ereth, who practiced at Mayo for 25 years before his retirement, is a noted expert on reducing unnecessary blood transfusions. During his time at the clinic he instituted an analytics program that reduced transfusion-related expenditures in excess of $25 million, and has now translated that expertise into a machine-learning “big data” platform touting such cost savings by predicting when transfusions would be harmful or helpful for individual patients.
“Nearly half of all blood transfusions in this country are either unnecessary or inappropriate,” Ereth asserted in company materials. “Eliminating unnecessary blood transfusions, which are increasingly associated with cardiopulmonary and renal complications, has been the target of our educational and analytic tools.”
The company’s core offering is its predictive algorithms, which run “discovery analytics” in clinical practice and precision medicine. Apri said they are able to predict individual patient outcomes “with very high degrees of sensitivity and specificity,” as well as predicting unanticipated adverse outcomes.
Apri gained some local attention at the 2016 Tekne Awards, where it won in the “health care (established company)” category. The judges cited its plans to expand its offerings beyond blood transfusions. Those plans were officially unveiled last year when Ereth and Feramisco announced they were extending the company’s offerings to “clinical areas beyond blood transfusions” with a similar mission to eliminate costly “over-utilizations” and improve patients’ outcomes.
Just what the other clinical areas are was not immediately revealed, but the expansion provides a context for the recently revealed financing. According to the filing, Apri and Alternate Health Corp. signed an “investment and technology development agreement” on March 18. Under the deal, AHC purchased a $500,000 debenture issued by Apri, convertible into common stock or other securities.
In connection with the financing, the Canadian company entered into a technology development agreement with Apri under which the Rochester firm will license its data analytics engine to AHC and assist with “the development and implementation of customized data analytic solutions for (AHC) and its customers.”
Feramisco, a Texas-based medical doctor with a long history of founding and funding medical startups, is on the board of AHC, which is currently concentrating heavily in the medical cannabis industry—it is producing a transdermal patch and non-pharmaceutical dissolvable tablet as alternatives to smoking prescribed marijuana.
Feramisco declined to discuss the details of the Apri financing with TCB since some related transactions were still ongoing, but said in an email he was excited by “great opportunities for data analytics in the medical cannabis market.”