Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, a top-ranked pediatric medical center and research institution, and seed investor CincyTech today announced the formation and seed financing of Clarigent Health, a platform technology company leveraging artificial intelligence and natural language processing to improve outcomes in the $200 billion mental health industry.
Clarigent’s initial focus is suicide, which, in recent years, has risen at alarming rates among teens. The company also aims to give healthcare providers a new clinical decision support tool: an app that uses advanced algorithms to analyze speech. The app’s analysis can be leveraged to detect indicators of certain mental health conditions and suicidality that can better inform treatment decisions.
Clarigent is led by serial entrepreneur and CEO Don Wright. “It’s rare to find world-class science, significant commercial potential, and a deeply personal mission all aligned in a single opportunity; but that’s what I’ve found with Clarigent,” Wright said.
CincyTech led the oversubscribed $1.6 million seed financing round, with participation from Cincinnati Children’s, Sadie Ventures, Airwing Ventures, and management.
The company’s core technology comes from its founding scientists John Pestian, PhD, MBA, and Tracy Glauser, MD, with contributions from several other innovators. It works by analyzing linguistic and vocal characteristics of sessions between therapists or physicians, and patients to provide a near real-time assessment of a patient at risk for suicide or mental health conditions. Clinicians, who make the ultimate decisions on treatment, can use the app’s assessment and recommendations to help inform and guide them.
“We’re excited to see this promising technology progress and move closer to making a significant and lasting impact on patient lives,” said Margaret Hostetter, MD, chief medical officer and director of Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation. “Clarigent Health embodies the compassionate, collaborative, and entrepreneurial spirit that makes Cincinnati Children’s a special place.”
“Improving behavioral health outcomes through cutting-edge innovations is required to address an area of healthcare that remains underserved,” said Mike Venerable, CEO of CincyTech. “Assurex Health was our first successful collaboration among the inventors and management. Clarigent is a worthy second act for this world-class partnership.”
Assurex Health is a personalized medicine that commercialized technology developed at Cincinnati Children’s and the Mayo Clinic. CincyTech was an early investor. Pestian and Glauser are two of the technology's co-inventors. Wright, an initial employee, held the roles of Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer when the company was acquired in 2016 by Myriad Genetics.
Clarigent Health is headquartered in The City of Mason, Ohio’s Tech Elevator.
While initially focused on suicidality and mental health, Clarigent is actively looking at other market opportunities—both inside and outside of healthcare—where its technology platform can be leveraged.
Clarigent Health intends to conduct and publish additional studies supporting and underlying the rationale for the recommendations provided by the app to better enable clinicians to independently review the basis for the recommendations.