Spire Health seeks USD 25m to carry respiratory health monitor business to cashflow break-even, CEO says

13 March 2020 - 12:00 am UTC


Spire Health, a maker of wearable medical sensors for chronic respiratory conditions, is working to raise USD 25m in financing this year to reach cashflow break-even, CEO and co-founder Jonathan Palley said.
 
The San Francisco-based company plans to use the funds to expand its team and help meet the demand for its sensors, which recently received Medicare reimbursement approval, Palley told this news service last month.
 
In a phone interview this week, Palley said it is “too early” to see if the recent coronavirus outbreak-driven market slide will affect the raise. The “unfortunate situation” also highlights the importance of more attention on respiratory disorders and remote sensing, though, he added.
 
Ideal investors for its planned raise would include venture firms and strategic partners, Palley said, adding that while investors do not necessarily need healthcare experience, they should be able to help Spire realize its greater potential.
 
Spire has raised approximately USD 25m to date, Palley said. According to the company’s website, its investors include Scrum Ventures, Y Combinator, Stanford’s StartX Fund, and Rock Health.
 
The company does not have a lead investor for the new round yet, but is in talks with multiple potential partners, said Palley from the sidelines of the MD&M Conference in Anaheim last month.
 
Spire’s sensor attaches to a respiratory disorder patient’s clothing, monitoring his or her vitals with the goal of catching irregularities early and reducing hospitalizations, he said.
 
The sensors come in packs so that patients can attach one to multiple sets of undergarments, for example. The devices are also fully washable, and last over a year, Palley added.
 
Philips [NYSE:PHG] also makes adhesive wearable remote sensors that have respiratory functionality, but according to Palley his company leads the field in addressing only respiratory problems.
 
According to trade publication HealthLeaders, more than 100,000 of the devices have been purchased, and Spire executives are examining how hospital and health systems can use the product for chronic disease management.
 
Palley called the market for monitoring issues like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) “huge” and underserved, affecting millions of US patients who could save time and money with monitoring rather than expensive emergency room visits.
 
Palley declined to disclose the company’s revenue figures.
 
He acknowledged that Spire could be an attractive acquisition target for larger healthcare companies, but said he does not envision selling the company, rather suggesting it could seek an IPO in less than five years.
 
“We think this is a multibillion-dollar opportunity, and Spire is set up to own that opportunity,” he said.
 
The company’s other founder is Neema Moraveji, currently Chief Science Officer.
 
by Andy Serbe