Google parent company, Alphabet, has snapped up digital health startup Senosis Health — a Seattle-based company that converts smartphones into screening tools, according to Geek Wire. The business was cofounded and led by Shwetak Patel, Washington Research Foundation Entrepreneurship Endowed Professor of computer science and engineering at University of Washington.Senosis has developed apps that harness smartphone technology including sensors and camera components for a variety of screening tools. Its apps include SpiroSmart and SpiroCall, HemaApp and OsteoApp – were under review by the Food and Drug Administration earlier this year, Geek Wire noted.

Shwetak was part of a team of scientists at University of Washington who developed an app to help detect bilirubin in newborns. Bilicam  — a chemical that can lead to jaundice, called Bilicam.

Although Verily is the healthcare and life science arm of Alphabet, Senosis Health staff were not working on the Verily team, Geek Wire reported, and it’s not clear what part of Alphabet they will fit into.

Stenosis Health and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the terms of the deal.

In an interview with Geek Wire a couple of months ago, Patel said the idea behind the apps is not only to reduce the dependence on costly medtech but also to enable these tests to be portable. That’s a goal many have espoused with the development of smartphones as diagnostic aids.

He described one app, SpiroSmart, as a portable test to assess lung function which harnesses a smartphone’s microphone and other sensors. It could be used for people with cystic fibrosis and other respiratory conditions to help them track data over time. Theoretically, the apps could be used to supplement care in low resource communities.

Patel noted in the interview that the company had been working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other organizations.


Source: Alphabet snaps up smartphone-enabled screening tool developer