An investor syndicate has provided $3 million in funding to Oklahoma City's AliveCor Inc., which has developed a device that will turn any smartphone into a clinical-quality heart monitor.
AliveCor plans to launch its product later this year, at which point medical professionals and patients can purchase the electrocardiogram recorder much more cheaply than current similar offerings. It's expected to retail for less than $100.
The AliveCor device is a slim case that fits over a smartphone, and can be used anywhere wireless coverage is available.
Low-power electrodes on the case are pressed against the fingers or chest of a person to display electrical activity of the heart.
It can be used to detect a heart blockage or unstable heartbeat, or to monitor heart rate during exercise or stress-reduction techniques.
The device gained widespread attention after AliveCor co-founder Dr. David Albert uploaded a demonstration of the tool on YouTube, and then garnered more interest at the Consumer Electronics Show.
“AliveCor looks forward to taking our innovations to all parts of the world for physicians, emergency first responders and patients alike,” Albert said.
Albert, the son of former U.S. Speaker of the House Carl Albert, also started Oklahoma City-based Lifetone Technology, which makes bedside fire alarms for the hearing-impaired and those who are hard to wake.
After completing its clinical trials at the OU Health Sciences Center and receiving Food and Drug Administration clearance, AliveCor will begin manufacturing both an iPhone electrocardiogram case and a credit-card-sized iCard electrocardiogram device.
Albert praised the quality of the investment syndicate, which includes the Oklahoma Life Sciences Fund, Qualcomm Venture, and Burrill & Co., “a biotech and health care investment leader.”
“Qualcomm is the preeminent provider of chipsets for advanced wireless services and has been a pioneer in driving the adoption of Wireless Healthcare,” Albert said.
“The Oklahoma Life Sciences Fund brings local expertise and a long-standing personal relationship with my ventures,” he said.
Working since 2005
AliveCor's Australian co-founders, Bruce Satchwell and Kim Barnett, have been working on wireless electrocardiogram technology since 2005, before the launch of the iPhone. The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber originally helped bring the business to Oklahoma City in 2008.
“We're thrilled to be a small part of this exciting news,” said Roy Williams, the chamber's president and CEO.
“The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber remains committed to supporting entrepreneurs like Dr. Albert and building our bioscience industry in our region.”
Tom Walker, president and CEO of Oklahoma City-based i2E Inc., said the investment could mark a turning point for the local company.
“With the backing of these investors, I'm hopeful the AliveCor ECG will soon be making a difference for heart patients around the world,” Walker said.
To see a demonstration of the AliveCor device, go to alivecor.com/video.htm.