Israeli startup OutSense said it has increased its Series A financing round to $2.7 million to gear up for the large-scale production of its “smart toilet bowl” technology, which aims to monitor its users’ health by analyzing their urine and stool.
Longevity Venture Partners, an American early-stage venture capital fund specializing in the healthcare and wellness sectors, has invested in the firm. The latest funds supplement the $2.2 million financing the startup received from Peregrine Ventures, announced in November 2020.
Longevity will begin piloting OutSense’s technology for detecting clinical conditions by analyzing human waste later this year, the company said in a statement. The firm said it plans to start commercial sales of its product in the first quarter of 2022.
The funds raised in the Series A round will be used for product development and to prepare for large-scale production, which will be followed up by another round of financing to support the company’s commercial activity, the statement said.
The internet of things (IoT) technology developed by the firm is a box that clips onto a standard toilet bowl, making it “smart.” The box activates automatically and scans excretions using multi-spectral optical sensors. It comes with a lighting device and an autonomous controller with a Wi-Fi receiver.
The system delivers results to the cloud, where real-time analysis is conducted based on the chemical and physical composition of the excretions using OutSense’s computer vision algorithms and artificial intelligence technology.
The sensor connects to a smartphone, either of the user or a caregiver, or to any defined data system. If an abnormality is detected, the system sends notifications and results immediately, thus enabling early treatment if there is any deviation from a predefined norm.
The pilot with Longevity will run together with the US firm’s parent company CommuniCare, a healthcare provider with nursing rehabilitation centers, long-term care centers, assisted living communities, independent rehabilitation centers and long-term acute care hospitals (LTACH) in the US. OutSense is also conducting clinical trials in Israel as well as a pilot in Japan.
The OutSense device currently enables the identification of blood in the stool, which is often a sign of colorectal cancer, an application that has been granted a patent in the US, Japan, Europe, and China. In addition, the company has developed special applications for elderly care institutions that permit continuous monitoring and remote diagnosis of dehydration, urinary tract infections, diarrhea and constipation, as well as monitoring routine toilet use.
The solution hopes to replace the manual collection of human waste and delivery to labs, a process many prefer to avoid. This can cause various diseases to be discovered too late, leading to hospitalizations and health deterioration.
OutSense recently launched several clinical trials in Israel, including a trial conducted with the gastroenterological department at Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Centre involving 50 patients. As part of the research, the OutSense device will be installed in toilets at the patients’ homes to monitor their excretions. The participants will also be checked for blood in their stool using the existing lab method, and this is to be followed up by a colonoscopy exam. The objective of the research is to validate the clinical efficiency of the OutSense device.
“The ability to partner with a major US health care provider serves as a signal to the market that the rules of the game can be changed,” said Yfat Scialom, CEO of OutSense, in a statement. The pilot tests in the US and Japan, as well as the clinical trials in Israel, “are an important milestone toward our plan to launch production and commercial sales which are planned for Q1 2022.”