After Scoring New Capital, Fifth Eye Prepares to Seek FDA Approval

Fifth Eye, an Ann Arbor-based medical software startup spun out of technology developed at the University of Michigan, today announced that it has raised $9 million in new investment capital, bringing its total venture backing to date to $11.5 million.

The round was led by Arboretum Ventures and Cultivation Capital, with participation from Invest Michigan, U-M’s MINTS program, and a bevy of angel investors. Founder and CEO Jen Baird says Fifth Eye will use the new capital to complete clinical studies at several hospital systems as it initiates the FDA approval process in preparation for a commercial launch.

Fifth Eye’s software is designed to act as an early warning system to predict when a patient might be in imminent trouble, based on their electrocardiogram (ECG) data. When the heart overcompensates for other trouble in the body, the signs are subtle, Baird says, but they have detectable mathematical characteristics, which helps the company’s software to assess the patient’s condition.

The company’s technology alerts medical professionals to hemodynamic instability, which is when blood flow to vital organs decreases to levels that are insufficient to support normal functions, which Baird says is one of the most common causes of deterioration and death for critically ill or injured patients. Once alerted by Fifth Eye’s technology, doctors could take proactive measures to avoid adverse health events and improve patient outcomes—ideally shortening hospital stays and reducing healthcare costs in the process.

“What makes people really excited is that we’re able to predict patient deterioration from a single [data input],” she continues. “We can use existing heart monitors to predict decline at a median rate of 7.7 hours in advance. That’s exciting because that’s an actionable timeline to provide interventions and avoid deterioration.”

The idea for Fifth Eye’s system came about five years ago at the University of Michigan’s Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care, which received support from university and state tech transfer programs to advance commercialization. Fifth Eye licensed the technology from U-M and started the five-person company in 2017.

Fifth Eye recently completed efforts with development partner Menlo Innovations to refine the software, Baird says, and now the focus is on hardening it. “It’s not so much about adding new features but getting the product ready” for commercial deployment, she explains.

“Our mission is to provide an early warning system through continuous physiological measurements,” Baird says of the company’s future innovation roadmap. “The next generation of products will be about expanding detection environments to other parts of the hospital or even outside the hospital. It’s an exciting time and we’re thrilled to have the fuel that should take us well into the future.”

Fifth Eye’s new funding represented a milestone for more than the company—it was also Invest Michigan’s 100th investment in four years. Invest Michigan administers the Michigan Pre-Seed Fund II, a statewide investment fund that backs high-tech, early stage, pre-revenue companies. In the past year, the fund has completed 23 deployments of new and follow-on investments.

Sarah Schmid Stevenson is the editor of Xconomy Detroit/Ann Arbor. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET_AA

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