Seed Health acquires A.I. digital health company Auggi

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Image courtesy of Seed Health
Image courtesy of Seed Health

Related tags Probiotics synbiotics Prebiotics Gut health Artificial intelligence M&A

Microbial sciences company Seed Health has acquired Auggi’s technology assets to expand its technology portfolio ahead of launching its first digital product focused on digestive health.

Auggi is a digital health company with a suite of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to track and analyze digestive health, including an AI algorithm for real-time Bristol stool typing, the world’s largest stool image database, and a mobile monitoring application for clinical research.

The real-time Bristol stool typing uses computer vision and deep convolutional neural networks to objectively quantify and characterize an individual’s stool over time.

The most recent iteration of the technology, developed in collaboration with gastroenterologists at Massachusetts General Hospital, utilized benchmark data from the Bristol Stool Chart and was trained by the largest bank of stool imagery assembled to date, which was amassed by Seed’s 2019 Community Science initiative, #GiveAShit (winner of Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas​).

"Stool is one of the most valuable, but stigmatized, biomarkers of gastrointestinal health. Tracking and accurate characterization could empower individuals and their providers with important, actionable insights,”​ said Seed Health co-founder and co-CEO, Ara Katz.

“Building on recent research that explores digital augmentation of an intervention, we are also developing applications of Auggi’s AI to improve adherence and outcomes when used in combination with DS-01 (Seed’s Daily Synbiotic). We are excited to build on Auggi’s vision and inspire novel uses of their technology.”

DS-01 was developed with Dr Gregor Reid, Seed Health CSO, past-President of the International Scientific Association of Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP), and former Chair of the UN-World Health Organization Expert Panel that authored the global scientific definition of probiotics.

94% accuracy

Bristol Stool Scale © VectorMine Getty Images
The Bristol stool chart classifies human stool into seven categories. Image © VectorMine / Getty Images

The Bristol stool chart, which classifies human stool into seven categories and is a globally-recognized diagnostic tool, was first published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology​ in 1997.

While traditional methods of tracking and characterizing stool may be subjective, inconsistent, burdensome, and hampered by poor adherence, Auggi’s technology can reportedly detect and characterize stool with 94.1% accuracy (measured in the ability to predict the right Bristol class within one Bristol level), as compared to 75% accuracy from self-assessment.

Following the acquisition, Seed Health will also integrate Auggi’s mobile tracking application across its human clinical trials assessing DS-01 and the gut microbiota in IBS, constipation, and after antibiotic consumption.

Study participants will be able to quickly and efficiently report day-to-day gastrointestinal symptoms and quality of life inputs. This technology is currently deployed in Seed Health’s ongoing Phase II randomized, triple-blind, and placebo-controlled clinical trial investigating the role of the gut microbiome in IBS patients at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center​.

Raja Dhir, Seed Health co-founder and co-CEO, said that the company is excited to publish the results later this year.

Seed will launch its first consumer-focused digital product utilizing the AI and stool database in 2021, and is also currently testing a unique companion tracking and educational experience for its flagship probiotic, DS-01 to improve adherence, outcomes and retention.

"We are developing both an open source stool characterization and tracking tool for anyone to use and we're in early beta-testing for a combinatorial experience with DS-01," ​added Katz.

Enriching clinical research and improve human quality of life

“We are excited that Seed Health will carry our vision forward, stewarding new applications of our technology to empower people with greater insights about their digestive health,"​ said David Hachuel, Auggi co-founder. "We look forward to seeing our technologies enrich clinical research and improve human quality of life, which is so significantly impacted by gastrointestinal health."

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