The P4 Precision Medicine Accelerator hosted its Demo Day earlier this week, with nine companies from the current cohort pitching to an audience of investors and medtech experts in an airy rooftop space atop London’s Southbank Centre.
Nathan McNally, Health and Life Sciences Director at Capital Enterprise and co-founder of the P4 programme, began the event by welcoming attendees and highlighting P4’s accomplishments, including having supported 170 companies since 2019 and helping them fundraise over £120 million in private investment.
First to pitch was Third Eye Intelligence, with founder and CEO Samyakh Tukra taking the podium to explain how their AI predicts organ failure in hospital ICUs. By prompting clinicians to intervene early, Third Eye helps hospitals free up beds more quickly and reduce cost per patient. This is especially important to drive adoption in the US market, where hospitals are motivated to maximise the number of surgeries they perform, often limited by the availability of recovery beds. Tukra cited the expense of extended patient stays, explaining that for the NHS an additional 10 hour stay costs £2000. Reducing ICU and ventilator usage by 15-20% makes Third Eye financially attractive to hospitals.
Mark Bartlett, CEO of StoreGene, explained his company’s Clinical Genomic Operating System which integrates genomics into every stage of the healthcare journey. With a single test that reveals 20,000 genes and 3.2 billion base pairs, the company aims to move genetic testing from the laboratory to the cloud, making it possible for doctors to draw on this data to inform individual treatment approaches. The company is currently raising its seed round and anticipates increasing revenue by 10x over the next year.
Nick Davies, chief growth officer at Dr Julian Medical Group, took the stage to share the story of how Dr Julian Nesbitt, the company’s eponymous founder, came face-to-face with the need for better access to mental healthcare working in the NHS.
The Dr Julian app offers a digital platform for therapists and patients to interact and currently facilitates 5,500 appointments per month, working with 25 NHS trusts plus a number of corporate partners. Revenue is growing at 270% year on year, with 80% of Dr Julian patients showing reliable improvement against 68.5% of those receiving traditional therapy on the NHS. The software platform they have created for therapists has proven so useful, they are being asked to provide it to other partners on a SaaS basis. As one example of its effectiveness, working through the Dr Julian app has been shown to save therapists 8 hours per week of administrative time on average.
An audience member asked what Dr Julian’s secret for selling to the NHS was.
“We haven’t been selling,” Nick replied, explaining that many partners had approached them. “The referrals have been quite extraordinary for us, based on the strength of what we’re doing.”
Ed Cartwright, co-founder and CEO of Elixir.ai, played audio recordings of wet and dry coughs for the audience. For the 400,000 children with a cough who are referred to a paediatrician in the UK every year, distinguishing between the two is the first step to finding a diagnosis. But while the human ear can detect whether a cough is wet or dry, Elixir.ai uses machine learning (ML) to classify coughs and look for the hidden features which can lead to a much faster diagnosis of conditions such as asthma or croup.
Elixir.ai has been bootstrapped to date and has partnerships in place with two hospitals, allowing them to gather unique and hard to label data. They are currently raising a £500,000 seed round to build out their team and develop further partnerships. The end goal? Allowing parents to upload audio of their child’s cough, where it will be immediately diagnosed – leading to many fewer appointments and savings for the NHS.
Adam Amara, a co-founder at Turing Biosystems, took the stage to detail the work his company is doing to catalyse the convergence between biology and computation to engineer human biology. As an example, he described how clinicians will often fail to understand why a given therapy has failed, and yet for some melanoma treatments the response rate can be 25% with toxicity rates of 75% and above. The company is building an interpretable reasoning AI scientist on specialised chips which, based on prior knowledge of biology and clinical outcomes, can uncover causal relationships and biological mechanisms underlying the success or failure of certain treatments.
Further light was shed on the company’s two-pronged approach, with Turing BioResponse developed for clinical teams and Turing BioDiscovery for biopharma research and development. The company, which has teams in Newcastle and Lyon, recently closed a pre-seed round of £889,000 and is working to expand its clinician network and further validate the model through biopharma collaborations.
Senior lecturer at King’s College London and expert in cell phenotyping, Davide Danovi shared details of the work his company Migration Biotherapeutics is doing to improve treatment options for glioblastoma, among the most common and deadliest types of brain cancer. With plans for a medical device that would fill surgical space in the brain and attract residual cancer cells onto a catheter where they can be treated more effectively, he shared the company is seeking up to £1 million in seed funding.
Holly Health CEO Grace Gimson walked the audience through some impressive figures from the company’s work addressing population-level health challenges with NHS trusts and large employers. A digital health and well-being coach, the Holly Health app helps users make positive lifestyle changes, for example by improving sleep, smoking cessation, and reducing their alcohol consumption. Earlier this year, the value of the company’s work was underlined with a £545,000 UKRI grant.
Holly Health has already supported 20,000 people and is currently in late-stage partnership negotiations with a number of large employer well-being providers, in addition to receiving interest from big-name insurance companies with a cumulative 120 million clients. Although Holly Health recently closed a round, they are open to further conversations with investors and aim to be cash-flow positive from next year.
Anjui Wu, co-founder and CEO of Cansor, explained the company’s novel approach to screening for prostate cancer in men which relies on ctDNA (circulating tumour DNA) instead of, or in addition to the current standard prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. One approach would see the company’s prostate cancer methylation test replace the now-standard PSA as a frontline screening tool, reducing the burden on physicians from providing counselling to large numbers of patients with uncertain PSA results. The other approach would see only patients with a PSA above a set threshold referred for a ctDNA test, which then determines whether they are referred for treatment.
Neuroute founder and CEO Livia Ng wrapped up the pitching session with a high-energy appeal to speed up slow-moving clinical trials. Over the past two decades, the number of clinical trials has tripled but the length of time it takes to design and execute a trial has not improved. Over 86% of clinical trials are delayed by six months or more, and recruitment problems mean it takes 12 years on average to deliver a new treatment to patients. Positioning the company as an AI SaaS platform for clinical trial planning and enrollment, Livia shared how her company’s tools facilitate data-driven trial planning tailored to specific customers, streamlining a convoluted workflow and putting clinical information in the right place. Livia left the audience with a question: what would it mean for patients and their families if we could solve incurable disease sooner?
The audience also heard from Julie Devonshire OBE, Director of the Entrepreneurship Institute at King’s College London, Anna King of the South London Health Innovation Network, and Georgina Rizik, Chief Executive at SC1, London’s life sciences innovation district.
Thanks to everyone who attended and to our founders for their time!