Hillel’s Tech Corner: MeMed: Bringing data to medicine

It is 2020 and we have self-driving cars, autonomous drones, and advanced robotics. Yet, when you go to the doctor with a headache, the ability to differentiate between a viral and bacterial infection is significantly harder than it should be. The result is often the prescription of antibiotics that are not actually needed.Antibiotic misuse contributes to the rise of antimicrobial resistance, which causes 700,000 deaths annually worldwide, a figure that is projected to increase to 10 million by 2050. By giving patients antibiotics they don’t need, more harm is being done than good. The ability to analyze data and extract deep and actionable insights into the nature and severity of a patient’s condition is imperative.Meet MeMed, an Israeli company founded in 2009, now with more than 70 employees, and offices in Haifa, Israel and the US.MeMed raised $100M+ from leading VCs and insurers, and is the recipient of $35M+ in grants, including those from the US Department of Defense and the EU Commission. Their investors include: Ping An Global Voyager Fund, Foxconn, Caesarea Medical Holdings, Clal Insurance, Phoenix Insurance, OurCrowd, Social Capital, WTI and Horizons Ventures.MeMed is a leader in host immune response technology and is focused on providing physicians with tools to improve patient management. Their mission is to decode and translate the immune system’s complex signals into actionable insights that can be used to transform the way infectious diseases and inflammatory disorders are diagnosed and treated. Their technology platform makes it possible to conduct highly sensitive, rapid, multiplexed protein measurements at the point of need that previously could only be done on central lab equipment. Their test, MeMed BV, measures host-immune response proteins from a small sample of blood, and then applies machine learning to accurately distinguish between bacterial and viral infections.As of late, the company is using its technology to analyze and interpret the unique expression of three biomarker proteins in response to COVID-19 infection to provide insights into disease severity and risk stratification, in addition to monitoring patient response to treatment. They are currently running various studies around early detection of disease severity that may support physicians in their medical decisions.MeMed is actively collaborating with clinical centers in the US, Israel, Germany and Asia. They collected more than 1,000 samples from COVID-19 patients, which they plan to use to develop a test for predicting how severe a patient’s infection will be, so people at high risk of severe cases can be prioritized for treatment. They also launched a collaboration with a Dutch medical center, sampling hundreds of asymptomatic healthcare workers.While evidence shows that only a small percentage of COVID-19 patients need antibiotics to treat subsequent bacterial co-infections, when the coronavirus first emerged, doctors were left scrambling with how to manage patients. With no drug proven for treating COVID-19 patients, many turned to antibiotics, a concerning trend likely to lead to higher bacterial resistance rates.MeMed was co-founded by Dr. Eran Eden and Dr. Kfir Oved.Eden has been the CEO of MeMed since its inception. He is also the co-founder of several well-funded international consortia (e.g., Tailored-Treatment and Respiratory-ImmunoDx) established to develop, clinically validate and commercialize novel technologies that help to diagnose infectious diseases and inflammatory disorders. Eden holds a B.Sc. in computer engineering, bachelor’s degree in biology, and M.Sc. in computer science from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in systems biology from the Weizmann Institute of Science. In addition to over 100 granted patents and pending applications, Eden co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed publications and is the recipient of multiple awards.Oved is MeMed’s co-founder, CTO, and chairman of the board of directors. He led the development and clinical validation of MeMed’s technology suite, including the MeMed BV™ test and the MeMed Key™ point-of-care platform. Oved holds a bachelor’s degree in biology, B.Sc. in medicine and PhD in molecular immunology, and also trained for six years at the Technion-Institute of the Technology School of Medicine. He is the co-author of 83 granted and pending patents, as well as 16 peer-reviewed publications, and is the recipient of multiple awards. In 2019, Kfir was named among the top 25 voices in Precision Medicine.More than a decade ago, Eden and Oved set out to build an interdisciplinary team to address these challenges and change the paradigm via new technology.They began searching for ways to decode how the immune system responds differently to bacterial and viral infections. Leveraging an individual’s immune response eliminates many of the constraints of existing technologies. It enables rapid results, diagnosis even when the infection site is inaccessible, and the prevention of false alarms due to colonization or bystanders.To turn the idea into reality, MeMed received continuous support from the US Department of Defense and the European Commission, among others. They also joined forces with top research institutions, who are generating an unprecedented amount of clinical evidence in the US, Europe and other regions worldwide.MeMed is a data-driven company, producing high-quality clinical evidence which is analyzed by cutting-edge AI and machine learning capabilities. The value MeMed brings lies in taking these capabilities and combining them with their deep understanding of molecular science, systems engineering, medicine, manufacturing, commercialization and a host of other disciplines.The recent regulatory clearance of MeMed BV and MeMed Key in Europe and Israel are paving the path for the commercial roll out of the MeMed BV™ test and for the underlying technology in our MeMed Key™ platform to form the basis of further blood biomarker tests, to be developed in house and by licensing partners. They are implementing an early access program with some of the leading medical centers in Israel and Europe, and plan to scale up manufacturing activities and launch more broadly in 2021.In today’s day and age, data drives much of our behavior and has been recognized as the new oil. Yet, somehow, the medical world has yet to leverage this resource in detecting and treating patients across the world. MeMed is doing exactly that; applying cutting edge technologies to analyze that data and make us all healthier. Any company that uses technology to improve human lives is a company I think is worth watching closely.

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