Optina Diagnostics pulls $4M seed investment for Alzheimer's screening tool

The Montreal-based company uses spectral retinal imaging technology and AI to deliever a cheaper alternative to early Alzheimer's disease detection.
By Dave Muoio
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Optina Diagnostics, a Montreal-based company that uses spectral retinal imaging and artificial intelligence to scan for early Alzheimer’s disease, announced today that it has raised $4 million in seed funding. Zoic Capital led the round with participation from Desjardins Capital, DigitalDx Ventures, Pallasite Ventures, Barney Pell, Barney Pell's AngelList Syndicate, Advisors.fund and Hike Ventures.

Optina’s screen uses a hyperspectral camera to take several photos of the back of the eye and process their light intensity. Doing so allows the device to record a continuous spectrum of wavelengths that can be analyzed to characterize particular biomarkers, such as the beta-amyloid plaques that act as a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease.

The impact

The startup said in the statement that it is now ready to begin focusing on the regulatory approval of its initial screening tool, which it believes can be a low cost and more accessible screen than many of those currently available. Alzheimer’s disease currently affects millions of people in the United States and .

What’s the trend

Research data generated by Cedars-Sinai and NeuroVision Imaging LLC last year highlighted a similar approach to beta-amyloid detection and Alzheimer’s disease screening. On the treatment side, FDA recently granted breakthrough device designation to Dthera Sciences’ digital therapeutic for individuals in which the disease is already active.

The past few years have seen screens that heavily rely on AI technology to detect several different types of diseases ranging from renal to cardiac diseases.

On the record

"Optina's non-invasive eye test will dramatically change how Alzheimer's disease patients are diagnosed and managed,” David Lapointe, CEO at Optina Diagnostics, said in a statement.