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Gastrointestinal issues are a big problem, probably bigger than many people realize: according to the CDC, more than 22 million people visit the doctor's office with diseases of the digestive system as the primary diagnosis. All that treatment adds up, costing nearly $136 billion a year.
Now, two companies, each taking a different approach to solving this problem, have decided to combine forces to tackle it.
On Monday, microbial sciences company Seed Health announced the acquisition of Auggi, a company that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to track and analyze digestive health. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed, but it was revealed that the main thrust of the purchase for Seed Health was Auggi's technology assets.
Founded in in 2018, Auggi provides users with an app where they could set up a tracking journey and report data. The algorithm would use AI to get that user the results so they could understand what was wrong with them.
The company's platform includes an AI algorithm for real-time Bristol stool typing, a chart that classifies human stool into seven categories; by using AI and ML, Auggi can accurately detect and characterize stool with 94.07 percent accuracy. Auggi also has the world's largest stool image database, and a mobile monitoring application for clinical research.
Founded in 2017, Seed Health, which says that it is "pioneering applications of bacteria to impact human and environmental health," plans to integrate Auggi's mobile tracking application into its human clinical trials, in which it assesses DS-01, its flagship probiotic, and the gut microbiota in IBS, constipation, and after antibiotic consumption. The belief is that Auggi's technology will help improve adherence and outcomes.
"Stool is one of the most valuable, but stigmatized, biomarkers of gastrointestinal health. Tracking and accurate characterization could empower individuals and their providers with important, actionable insights," Ara Katz, co-founder and co-CEO of Seed Health, said in a statement.
"Building on recent research that explores digital augmentation of an intervention, we are also developing applications of Auggi's AI to improve adherence and outcomes when used in combination with DS-01. We are excited to build on Auggi's vision and inspire novel uses of their technology."
The launch of Seed Health's first consumer-focused digital product, which will use Auggi's AI and stool database, is expected to be released something this year. In addition, the company is also currently testing a companion tracking and educational experience for DS-01.
Prior to being acquired, Auggi had raised $100,000 in a pre-seed round from MIT delta v and Cornell University.
(Image source: virinchihospitals.com)
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