Co-investment opportunity: digital health company backed by pharma giant Bayer AG

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As many as 42% of paediatric clinical trials end up in failure and inconclusive results. Look at it another way: nearly half of the billions of dollars big pharma companies invest in clinical trials on children goes to waste. But, of course, there is more than money at stake.

Former Senior Research Nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital, Dr Elin Haf Davies, knows this all too well.

“When you’ve seen firsthand the pain, discomfort and trauma children experience in hospital, you’re always trying to think how to make this better”.

Indeed, Dr Davies made it her mission to “make it better”. Since 2007, she has raised £250k for charities focusing on children with rare diseases (she rowed across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and sailed across the Pacific and the Atlantic). She achieved a PhD from University College London on clinical research, then worked with the Centre for Health Economics & Medicines Evaluation and the European Medicines Agency. 

The experience she accumulated led to the creation of digital health company Aparito in 2014. Aparito aims to use technology to improve the success of clinical testing and patients’ quality of life.

The problem and Aparito’s solution

Why do so many clinical trials fail or lead to inconclusive results? Data is often part of the problem.

Traditionally data is collected at the hospital or research facility, which trial participants are required to attend at set times. This can be onerous, so many participants drop out. Moreover, even when patients remain in the trial, the data collected is a snapshot at a particular point in time and unlikely to give the full picture.

But what if clinical data could be constantly monitored and gathered using a combination of a smartphone and “wearables” technology, in a similar way to a smartwatch or fitness tracker?

Aparito has developed such patient-centric technology. A wearable sensor records patient data 24/7. A mobile device (e.g. the patient’s own) links to the clinical research study. The patient can input data, including medication times and dosage, and how they are feeling. Clinicians can see and speak to the patient via secure video conference. The technology can generate real-time warnings if it detects side effects or an unexpected deterioration in the patient.

Aparito EIS – how it works

Does Aparitoʼs approach work?

Aparito won its first contract in its first year, thereby becoming revenue generating.

In 2017 it was selected by Bayer AG – one of the worldʼs largest pharmaceutical companies – for its Accelerator program.

So far, Aparito has been involved in nine trials – you can read comments from some of the partners below. Most trials are ongoing and have to date generated over £400k in revenue.
While the technology is disease agnostic, the primary focus has so far been on orphan and rare diseases (eight out of the nine studies). The management believes Aparito is currently the only digital health technology provider with this focus.

Examples include studies on Niemann Pick Type-C disease, an extremely rare and devastating genetic condition, conducted with Great Ormond Street Hospital, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and Cardiff & Vale University Health Board. The patientʼs story shown to the right gives a real-life example of the difference Aparitoʼs approach could make.

Customers also include the National Institutes of Health, Aparito’s first contract in the US, Actelion Pharmaceuticals UK, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, and a French-based biotech company developing gene therapy for Sanfilippo Syndrome (a rare and fatal genetic condition).

A patient’s story

In 2007, at the age of two, H. was diagnosed with Niemann Pick Type C (‘NP-C’) an extremely rare and devastating genetic condition which causes neurological decline (problems with posture, speech and movement) and childhood dementia. In 2016, H. took part in a project run by Aparito with Great Ormond Street Hospital. Her mother describes the experience.

“H. has now been part of the Aparito wearable technology study for just over a month. She has a lovely pink watch which she happily wears at all times. The watch can track her walking and sends information directly down to an app loaded on my iPhone and on to the hospital.

At first we thought H. might be upset at having to wear a device on her wrist all the time but this was made so much easier when she realised there was a choice of colours to wear and pink was one of them!

Over the last month she has worn the watch with ease and never complains about it being uncomfortable. I go into the app twice a day to log the times that H. takes her medication and I also have to log on the app any falls or adverse events that may occur, any hospital visits that take place and fill in online quality of life surveys once a month. The app is easy to use and is a great way of logging the required trial information.

Prior to the trial H. only used to take part in a six minute walk test at routine NP-C clinic visits. The data gathered from these tests would be very much dependent on what mood H. was in, whether she was tired or whether she would cooperate (walk rather than dance along the mat!). I am hopeful that this wearable technology will give a clearer pattern of her walking in everyday situations.”

The opportunity for experienced EIS investors

Now the company is raising £1.3 million to help fund its next stage of growth. Existing investors, including the Development Bank of Wales, have already committed £300k to this round.

£1 million is available exclusively to Wealth Club EIS investors in this private offer.

If Aparito achieves its plan, it aims to deliver an investor return of 6.9x before EIS tax relief (9.9x after EIS tax relief) after three years. Please note, though, returns and timeframes are not guaranteed. Like all EIS investments, this offer carries high risks to your capital. In addition, it is an investment in a single company, so there is no diversification. Only experienced investors should consider this.

Please note: this private offer has a relatively modest fundraising target, so it is expected to fill up quickly.

Industry validation: partnersʼ comments 

“Increasingly, paediatric clinical trials are conducted in the outpatient environment. This can pose a challenge to data quality, especially when needing to dynamically and actively monitor and record patient biometric data. Technology from Aparito obviates these challenges which in turn, adds precision and speed to conducting essential clinical trials.” - Dr. Kearns, President of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute

“We’re excited to use this in clinical practice.” - Prof. Paul Gissen, Great Ormond St Children’s Hospital, London UK

“We value Aparito’s clinical solution to positively impact patients and are excited to see the company grow further. Collaboration opportunities with Bayer have been identified and we will follow Aparito‘s further developments closely to support future projects.” - Dr Zsuzsanna Varga, Global Head of G4A Digital Health Partnerships at Bayer AG

“[Aparito’s] enormous value is being recognised by researchers, regulatory agencies, policymakers and payers.” - Tanya Colin Histon, Gaucher Association UK

“The amount of data being collected [using Aparito’s technology] is outstanding.” - Dr C Tifft, National Institute of Health Children’s Hospital Research Institute

“Wearable technology has a huge potential to be extremely helpful allowing patients’ clinical team to assess movement in real time. The benefits are a more accurate understanding of disease progression and outcomes.” - Alison Reid, PhD, International Medical Scientific Manager, Actelion Pharmaceuticals

What to consider next

Please visit the offer page to download our research report and the offer documents, read more (including risks and charges) and apply online.

EIS / SEIS investments are high-risk so should only form part of a balanced portfolio and you should not invest money you cannot afford to lose. They also tend to be illiquid and hard to sell and value. Before you invest, please carefully read the Risks and Commitments and the offer documents to ensure you fully understand the risks. 

This is a single company EIS offer with no diversification. It involves investing in an early-stage business which is by nature high risk and prone to failure.

The value of tax benefits depends on circumstances and tax rules can change.

Wealth Club aims to make it easier for experienced investors to find information on – and apply for – tax-efficient investments. You should base your investment decision on the provider's documents and ensure you have read and fully understand them before investing. This review is a marketing communication. It is not advice or a personal or research recommendation to buy the investment mentioned. It does not satisfy legal requirements promoting investment research independence and is thus not subject to prohibitions on dealing ahead of its dissemination.

Read more and apply online

Read more about this offer, including the risks; download our research report and all the documents. You can apply online in minutes.

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