Scripps Enrolls 4,000+ in Scanadu Trial of Device for Vital Signs

Xconomy San Diego — 

In the five years since it was founded, Mountain View, CA-based Scanadu has been blessed with a groundswell of support from some pretty diverse groups—ordinary folks, elite investors, Web innovators, and even Trekkies.

Now the company gets to bask in the reflected glow of San Diego’s prestigious Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI). In a statement yesterday, STSI said it has enrolled over 4,000 people to participate in the first clinical trial of the Scanadu Scout, a medical device designed to provide hospital-grade diagnostic tests of four patient vital signs.

The goal of the study is to better understand how the Scout modifies users’ health behaviors over a six-month period, and to evaluate ease of use and acceptance of the technology.

Scanadu says its collaboration with STSI is one of the largest consumer health studies of its kind, and will become part of the roadmap the company has been following on its way to seeking FDA approval.

Of course, by announcing that patient enrollment has closed, STSI also has provided Scanadu with a nice marketing fillip—the latest in a series of accomplishments that many startups would envy.

In 2013, the medical device startup raised more than $1.6 million from more than 8,000 contributors in a savvy crowdfunding campaign that set a record for fastest funding velocity on Indiegogo—which of course also triggered a flurry of press coverage.

Scanadu founder and CEO Walter de Brouwer also has managed to raise nearly $50 million in venture funding—including $35 million earlier this year—from investors in China, Singapore, Canada, Silicon Valley, and Denver, as well as Zappos founder Tony Hsieh’s Vegas Tech Fund and Yahoo founder Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud Ventures.

Last year Scanadu was among 10 finalists selected to compete for the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize, a global technology challenge inspired by the handheld medical diagnostic device in the fictional Star Trek series. Final judging for the Tricorder XPrize competition is scheduled for December and January.

Participants in the clinical trial were recruited from Scanadu’s record-breaking Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. The contributors who participated in the campaign were the first consumers to get the gadget earlier this year.

The Scout is a disc-shaped device, about the size of a cosmetic compact, that is meant to be pressed against the side of a user’s head, near the temple. Within 10 seconds, it is designed to measure four vital signs: heart rate; blood pressure; blood oxygen, and temperature.

Scanadu Scout (photo courtesy Scanadu)The Scout uses a Bluetooth wireless connection to sends the data to a smartphone app, allowing it to be viewed by study participants and collected by researchers.

A statement released yesterday about the trial even included a quote from STSI’s director, Eric Topol, who also serves as a professor of genomics at The Scripps Research Institute and the Chief Academic Officer of Scripps Health, the San Diego nonprofit healthcare organization that serves a half-million people a year.

“As more wireless health sensors become available to consumers, it is critical that these technologies undergo independent, scientific testing to validate their effectiveness and value,” Topol says in the release.