In the midst of a global pandemic, one might expect that Medtech companies could make for an attractive investment. Particularly startups focussed on mental health, an area in which unfortunately, so many people around the world are facing an uphill battle as Covid rates soar and winter settles in. That was the case this week for Montreal’s AIfred Health, which raised a seed round of $4 million, co-led by MEDTEQ+ and BDC Capital.
The funding will be used to cover the costs of things like clinical trials and obtaining regulatory approvals. Both of which are key elements in validating the safety and effectiveness of the AI developed by AIfred. This is of paramount importance when it comes to recommending personalized therapeutic treatments for patients suffering from clinical depression. A 350 patient trial is set to begin early in the new year and will take place in notable hospitals on both sides of the border. The hope is that patients treated for clinical depression with approved medications, by physicians using AIfred’s AI, will experience greater improvement in their depression symptoms.
“I am thrilled with the close of our latest round and incredibly appreciative of the support we have received from our new and existing investors, particularly as we managed the challenges of the pandemic,” says Marina Massingham, President & CEO, AIfred Health who continued: “This funding ensures we remain on schedule for our clinical trial next year and that our AI technology becomes accessible for the treatment of depression as rapidly as possible while we concurrently roll out and commercialize the best-practice module of our technology to help physicians better treat patients with clinical depression.”
Investors believe this technology may deliver on the tremendous potential of personalized medicine for the benefit of patients, their families and both public and private payors. Many have been closely monitoring the scientific progress being made in the field of mental health. And now in a post-Covid environment, the number of people facing these challenges has increased substantially, and on a global scale.
“Mental health is a growing concern, and the pandemic is increasing the stress and anxiety people are facing. We believe that AIfred’s technology has the potential to help doctors and psychiatrists better treat the growing number of people affected by depression directly from their offices or via telemedicine,” added Michelle Scarborough, Managing Partner, Strategic Investments and Women in Tech Venture Funds at BDC Capital. “At BDC, we champion Canada’s leading role in digital health technology and the important role of gender diversity in leading innovation. AIfred brings both to the table.”
AIfred may also soon garner more global attention due to its participation in the IBM Watson AI XPrize competition.