Cochlear, Giant Leap back "gold standard" for epilepsy detection in Seer's $34m funding round

Cochlear, Giant Leap back "gold standard" for epilepsy detection in Seer's $34m funding round

(L-R) Seer co-founder George Kenley, co-founder and CEO Dr Dean Freestone, and chief medical officer Professor Mark Cook.

An Australian home monitoring technology that detects for signs of various disorders, including epilepsy and heart conditions, is set to go global thanks to a $34 million Series A financing involving Cochlear (ASX: COH), EWM Group, SG Hiscock and Giant Leap.

Co-founded in 2017 by Dr Dean Freestone and George Kenley, Seer now has more than 20 clinics around Australia where patients are fitted with the company's proprietary system before taking a monitoring kit home.

In a pandemic world that has accelerated the push to telehealth options, Melbourne-based Seer's technology is yet another innovation that improves accessibility and convenience for patients who ordinarily would need to go to a hospital after experiencing the kinds of seizures the company specialises in diagnosing.

Seer's devices monitor key physiological signals such as brain, heart and respiratory function, along with person's behaviour in their home environment.

To date these systems have been used to monitor more than 7,600 Australians to differentiate epilepsy from other conditions such as cardiac, sleep or psychological disorders.

The company estimates it has diverted over 140 years’ worth of bed time from the Australian hospital system within just four and a half years of operation, saving states and territories more than $100 million.

"Seer is on the cutting edge of a new trend in medical technology, where it is being used to enable better home-care solutions, leading to improved access, lower costs, better outcomes and freeing up hospital beds for more acute care," says Seer CEO and co-founder Dr Dean Freestone.

"It’s a crucial shift, as our population growth is easily outpacing growth in the healthcare sector.

"Epilepsy can be a crippling health condition for both people and their families, and the healthcare system. Our technology has opened access to gold-standard testing, enabling people to get answers sooner and move on to the appropriate treatment."

Co-founder George Kenley explains epilepsy is misdiagnosed in about 30 per cent of cases, leading to incorrect treatments and costing lives.

"In addition to its economic and health system benefits, at its core Seer is ensuring correct diagnosis and saving lives," she says.

"We look forward to helping more people across the globe as we expand the reach of our products and services and use our technology to tackle sleep and cardiac conditions."

The financing from the investment is being used to expand Seer's diagnostic services offering in Australia from epilepsy to more directly target the sleep and cardiac market, as the company also looks to expand its product and service offerings to the US, UK and Europe. 

John Quinlan, chief investment officer of multi-family office EWM Group, says Seer has quickly established itself as a leader in home-based clinical diagnostic testing underpinned by its proprietary IP portfolio, purpose-driven technology and compelling strategy. 

"Importantly, Seer’s technology directly addresses issues of accessibility and long wait times for patients requiring long-term monitoring resulting in better health outcomes at lower costs for all stakeholders in the healthcare system," Quinlan says.

"Seer is another great example of Australians building a globally relevant technology business."

Seer has the key traits Rory Hunter, portfolio manager of SG Hiscock Medical Technology Fund, looks for in a successful medical technology company: proprietary and highly disruptive intellectual property, a growing market share in a large addressable market, and an ability to scale globally.

"Seer has achieved extraordinary success in Australia, and we look forward to its international expansion," Hunter says.

"SGH is attracted to the medical technology industry, given the growing pressures on the healthcare system due to ageing western world demographics, rising medical costs, and the need to invest in diagnostics and chronic disease prevention.

"COVID-19 has added a further layer to this, forcing healthcare providers to seek greater operating efficiencies. Home care is an undeniable trend in the medical industry, and Seer is providing a valuable contribution to an unmet demand for medical needs out of the hospital."

Giant Leap venture partner Peter Cameron describes Seer's intellectual property and technology as outstanding, having become the "gold standard" for epilepsy detection and clear diagnosis in Australia.

"The company also has demonstrated a remarkable growth trajectory and measurable impact of its work, and we credit that to the passion and dedication of Dean, George and the broader Seer team," Cameron says.

"We are excited to see the company expand globally and tackle more health conditions. In a few short years, Seer has already had a major impact on Australia’s health system and it will be fantastic to see these benefits rolled out in other countries."

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