In 2007, neuroscientist Alexander Brandt and mathematician Sebastian Mansow-Model were doing research projects in cooperation with Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and little did they know how one of these projects would shape their careers as digital health entrepreneurs.
It was the Bachelor thesis of Karen Otte (one of the new additions to the team at the time) that caught their attention.
Karen was trying to assess the validity of Kinect V1 (a Microsoft built software and hardware) for medical and biometric purposes. The encounter also meant the beginning of her career in the digital health scene.
Founded in 2014 as a Charité spin-off for applied research in motor diagnostics, Motognosis develops motion assessment system for recognizing and analyzing motor dysfunction in patients with neurologic diseases.
What’s the problem doctor?
Patients with chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis (MS), for instance, need an accurate assessment of their symptoms for disease management and therapy effectiveness.
There are approximately 1.2 million Parkinson’s patients in Europe (250 thousand in Germany alone) and over a million in the US. Similarly, the number of people with MS in Europe is believed to be around 700,000.
Delivering effective assessment for patients worldwide has been a focus of digital health companies across the globe and support for self-care is increasingly seen as a vital part of the management of long-term conditions.
That’s where Motognosis comes in handy. The startup provides a flexible and easy-to-use system for tracking motor symptoms at home, initially based on the Kinect V2 sensor.
Our solution enables users to carry out certain tests on themselves that General Practitioners (GPs) would typically perform. It has the ability to detect small symptom changes, even before they are reported in routine – Karen, Motognosis’ Chief Data Scientist.
Patients with medical conditions are used to performing different motor tasks during doctors appointments. These tasks are designed to trigger specific symptoms.
Motognosis uses consumer 3D sensors (such as Microsoft Kinect and Intel RealSense) to record and analyze these tasks and derive quantified measurements (e.g. tremor frequency and sway speed) by applying proprietary algorithms.
These parameters have been tested and validated in clinical studies to prove their meaningfulness to doctors.
Our product was developed with practicability, affordability and mobility in mind: no markers or sensors need to be attached and patients can use it without assistance. The system just needs to be put somewhere with full view of the patient (as shown below) – Alexander, Motognosis’ Business & Product Development and head of the Neurodiagnostics Laboratory at Charité.
The diagnostic accuracy of the technology has been validated and published in clinical papers
Put to the test
Six research systems are currently in use at Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Charité (NeuroCure Clinical Research Center and Benjamin Franklin and Virchow-Klinikum campuses) and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association.
Having generated 600k revenue from clinical studies, services, and system sales and raised 150k grant money so far, Motognosis is now working at full speed to get the usability validation for the use-at-home system.
With Karen in charge of data science and diagnostic algorithms and Bastian Kayser overseeing software development and machine learning, there is a lot in store for the startup.
The next step now is to be certified as a medical device by the end of 2018 as well as running pilot projects with health insurance companies.
The startup is also working to expand into other neurologic diseases as well as taking the company into international markets.
It goes without saying that its close ties with Startupbootcamp Digital Health Berlin and Charité’s networks will come a long way in helping them to achieve their goals.
When we first joined the accelerator program, we had a clear idea of how to develop our business model. However, we didn’t have access to investors and the leading healthcare experts that mentor the program. Getting early on advice and guidance from them was vital to help us both further develop and validate our business model – Sebastian, Motognosis’ Managing & Technical Director.
Last week (November 30), our Cohort 2017 pitched their solution to over 300 potential investors during Startupbootcamp Digital Health Berlin’s Demo Day 2017 and Motognosis delivered a strong performance.