AiCure Raises $12 Million Series A To Tackle Medication Adherence With AI


New York-based digital health startup AiCure announces that it has closed a $12 million Series A investment round led by New Leaf Venture Partners, with additional investments from Biomatics Capital, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, and Tribeca Venture Partners. The found is AiCure’s first equity-backed investment, having raised millions in early capital through NIH grants. The company launched in 2010 with the goal of building a smartphone app that could use a smartphone’s forward-facing camera, facial recognition algorithms, and other image recognition algorithms to directly observe patients taking their pills. The idea won AiCure six NIH grants, worth in total more than $7 million, which was used to develop and patent the technology that powers the platform. Now, with eleven patents and a viable platform ready to bring to market, AiCure has attracted investors hoping that it might succeed where many others have failed.

AiCure has developed a novel approach to measuring medication adherence. The company uses a number of algorithms to verify that the correct patient is taking the correct medication at the correct time. Facial recognition confirms patient identity, while image recognition technology zeroes in and identifies the actual pill. Finally, motion detection algorithms watch the mouth and throat to confirm that the pill has been swallowed. It’s a slick, almost over-engineered approach that likely would not have come to be if the startup had been funded by VCs from its inception, but with $7 million in NIH grants and time to focus on development efforts, AiCure has turned out a polished and technologically impressive platform.

Currently, a number of approaches are being fielded to improve medication adherence. Walgreens, Mango Health, and many payers offer apps that send medication reminders to patients to improve adherence. Electronic pill bottles are also available that passively log every time a pill is taken out of the bottle. However, these solutions presume that the pill is being taken, but they do not directly observe the patient. AiCure sees its technology as a differentiator because it is the first to market with a direct observation approach to confirming medication adherence.

AiCure sees its platform being used in a number of capacities. The team will market the app to researchers and pharmaceutical companies conducting clinical trials as a way of confirming medication adherence among study participants. Opioid addicts are also being targeted because medication adherence rates among recovering addicts is notoriously poor, with many missing doses, taking too many doses, or selling their prescriptions. AiCure has positioned its platform as a way of monitoring outpatient addiction treatment programs.

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