Dr. Tom Sawyer, CFO at Cognetivity Neurosciences, sat down with me to discuss the benefits of AI-driven dementia detection technology for patients, health care providers, and clinical research. He also shared his predictions for the future of digital health and his tips for biotech startups looking to raise capital and grow their company.
Here is a sneak peek of our conversation:
Q: One of the core areas or fundamental products, if you will, that Cognetivity specializes in, is the initial piece around the diagnosis of something starting to happen to you neurologically. Tell us a little bit about that aspect which is called CognICA. What exactly is that software? How is it set up? What does it do and what does it help to diagnose?
A: CognICA is effectively our flagship clinical product that has CE marking; we have FDA 510(K) registration in the US so it’s approved for use in clinical environments. As you said, it’s delivered as software. The clinical tool is on iPads. The test itself, you download it, you set it up, log into your account, and then it enables you in the course of five minutes – in a very sensitive and effective way – to look at how well the brain functions.
We like to use an analogy to equate it to a blood pressure test. The idea is that a blood pressure test is a very quick, easy-to-administer test but it gives you some indication of your cardiovascular health. That’s why it’s done routinely. Any checkup you go to they will always take your blood pressure test. If the blood pressure isn’t where they expect it to be, the clinician knows then to investigate, “what’s the cause of this?” As a result of that, interventions in cardiovascular disease happened very, very quickly, nice and early. So they have a very good record of effectiveness. Not so for the brain, which is of course the most important organ in our body, but it gets neglected. It’s not looked after in the same way that the cardiovascular system is. By being able to quickly and accurately assess whether the brain is performing and functioning the way it should be as part of a regular checkup. Then clinicians are able to see things coming, to investigate the cause of any impairment, and to make sure that any interventions then happen early enough when they can really have an impact.
It’s a bit of a game changer really, knowing the fact that you can take a technique or a way of looking at brain health, that previously needed a specialist and took a lot of time was very time-consuming and very expensive; bringing it to the frontline of healthcare where it becomes a much more routine, much more normal thing to do so that we can just see how well people’s brains are getting on.
For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with Dr. Tom Sawyer, or listen to the podcast version, below.
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