CardieX, a cardiovascular technology company based in both Australia and Illinois, recently acquired Blumio, a San Mateo, California-based startup focused on cardiovascular sensors. The deal will advance both companies’ vision to accurately and easily measure blood pressure without relying on the use of a cuff, according to Blumio CEO and Co-founder Catherine Liao.
As a developer of medical devices, CardieX’s products measure arterial stiffness and central blood pressure waveforms. It also makes wearables and devices for remote patient monitoring, decentralized clinical trials and home health.
Blumio claims to have been “leading the charge” when it comes to creating wearable sensors that can capture a cardiovascular signal without the use of pulse pressure. Its competitors fit into two buckets, Liao said in an interview.
The first bucket is companies that are seeking to develop the same type of novel sensor as Blumio. Liao named PyrAmes, a Cupertino-based company, as an example but pointed out that the company is focused on applying its sensor only in neonatal care. The second bucket includes startups that are leveraging existing optical sensors commonly found on smartwatches and fitness trackers as a mechanism to measure blood pressure noninvasively. In this category, companies like Biobeat Medical, Aktiia and LiveMetric came to mind for Liao.
Before the acquisition was announced, CardieX and Blumio — which were founded in 1994 and 2015, respectively — had been collaborators for about three years.
The collaboration began so the two companies could work together to measure arterial stiffness, as well as extract different central aortic biomarkers relating to the heart. A lot of CardieX’s core technology was developed to rely on the use of a tonometer, which is essentially a pressure sensor that looks like a pen and allows clinicians to measure the pulsation of a patient’s artery, according to Liao. The use of tonometers requires trained clinical staff, whereas Blumio’s sensor technology can “essentially immediately replace that” and make it easier for clinicians to assess how stiff a patient’s artery is as part of an overall health assessment, she said.
Throughout the collaboration, Blumio was focused on providing its hardware development kits to CardieX, as well as working with the company on clinical studies to validate the robustness and accuracy of the signal its sensor acquired.
During the same period of time, Blumio was also collaborating with other companies — namely Infineon and Google — to enhance its technology, Liao declared. But when it came time to be bought, she said CardieX was definitely the right collaborator to make a deal with.
“It was really about the alignment of where our products could come together,” Liao said. “It was about seeing that we have a path forward. We can incorporate our technology directly into their product, being part of their product development roadmap.”
This deal also helps both Blumio and CardieX from a growth perspective, she pointed out. Liao said CardieX is “in the process of becoming listed by NASDAQ” and is working to “build a big presence” in the U.S., as well as globally.
CardieX CEO Craig Cooper agreed that this acquisition makes the company more poised for growth.
“We’re singularly focused on the vascular biohealth market, or biomarker sector, in terms of developing a wearable device and other solutions for vascular disease,” he said in an interview. “No one is focused singularly on arterial health, which is basically the world’s largest health disorder, not only just from a cardiovascular and hypertension perspective, but also from the point of view of other complementary vascular disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease and preeclampsia.”
Now that Blumio has been acquired, Liao has joined CardieX as chief strategy officer. Cooper said that Liao shares CardieX’s vision of developing wearables to improve arterial health “so it just made sense for us all to come together and have her part of the team.”
To Liao, an enjoyable part about now being part of CardieX is that fundraising activity has been taken out of her day-to-day responsibilities.
“I can really focus on driving the product development and more importantly the commercialization and go-to-market strategy for the entire, broader CardieX product suite,” she said.
The deal’s financials were not disclosed by Liao or Cooper.