Indian firm aims to develop affordable healthcare technologies for emerging countries.
Forus Health raised $5 million in a Series A round of financing with Accel Partners and IDG Ventures India. The funds will be used to drive the manufacture and commercialization of Forus’ flagship diagnostic platform, 3nethra. It has been designed as a portable, low-cost, nonmydriatic prescreening ophthalmology system for detecting cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, refraction, and corneal damage.
Forus is focused on developing affordable technology solutions that can easily be used by minimally trained technicians in emerging countries characterized by very low doctor-to-patient ratios. The firm says the five eye disorders that can be detected by the 3nethra platform together account for 90% of blindness in India alone, a country where only 7–10% of people at various stages of blindness are currently screened and treated.
The portable system is low cost and so more available to rural populations, doesn’t require a high degree of training to use, and is designed to provide an automated ‘normal’ or ‘need to see doctor’ report. The system can also connect primary care centers to secondary and tertiary care centers for remote diagnosis.
“Technology can help us rethink healthcare delivery, and perhaps technology can transform healthcare from being cure-centric to prevention-centric and hence have a deeper impact in people’s lives,” comments Forus president and CTO Shyam Vasudeva Rao, Ph.D. “We will focus on developing technologies for early screening, which will help the doctors to focus on needy patients only.”