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Google buys Seattle health tech startup Sound Life Sciences

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Google has acquired a Seattle-based health tech startup, Sound Life Sciences. Both the companies did not provide details of the deal.

Tech giant, Google, has bought a small University of Washington spinout, Sound Life Sciences, according to a Google representative. Sound Life Sciences, which was founded in 2018, created an app to monitor breathing. The company’s founders are Shyam Gollakota, the startup’s CEO and a UW computer science and engineering professor,  and  Jacob Sunshine, a UW Medicine associate professor.

Google and Sound Life Sciences did not give any details regarding the deal. The Sound Life Sciences app used sonar technology to detect movement to monitor respiration.

The software has the potential to make sleep apnea diagnosis easier, which normally requires an overnight stay at a sleep disorder clinic. It may also allow those suffering from asthma or congestive heart failure to keep track of their breathing rate.

As of December, the firm employed five individuals. The business also gained approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to distribute the app that month, paving the way for insurance companies to compensate them.

Senosis Health, created by UW computer scientist Shwetak Patel and four doctors, was bought by Google in 2017. Senosis has created applications to check health, such as blood levels and bone strength. Senosis also created an app that allows users to monitor their breathing by holding a phone at arm’s length and blowing on it.

It’s unclear how Google is utilizing Sound Life Sciences’ expertise, but the internet behemoth and its parent Alphabet have long invested in health technologies.

Verily Life Sciences, an Alphabet company, employs linked gadgets for patient care and remote clinical studies, such as a watch that collects heart rate and other data.

Verily also has a sleep apnea joint venture with digital health business ResMed. The company, Primasun, intends to provide digital tools to aid in the identification, diagnosis, treatment, and management of the illness and other sleep disorders.

Primasun delivers virtual consultations with sleep specialists as well as testing “from the comfort of your own bed” utilizing “FDA-approved at-home sleep testing.” The company also provides individual coaching and monitoring.

Verily just received $1 billion in venture capital investment, headed by Alphabet, which split its Google Health umbrella initiative into different teams last year.

Google also doubled in on digital health last year when it paid $2.1 billion for fitness wearables maker Fitbit.

The Senosis transaction included a non-exclusive license, allowing other firms interested in the technology to do the same. Following the purchase, Patel stated in 2019 that he was working with Google on healthcare.

Sunshine stated in December that the company’s sleep software was only the start. “Basically, this is the initial clearance from which we’ll develop additional fascinating use cases,” he stated at the time. He imagined uses like newborn monitoring and heart arrest detection.

In 2020, the firm was nominated for Health Innovation of the Year at the GeekWire Awards. Sound Life Sciences was supported by more than $2.5 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

Google’s latest Seattle startup acquisition occurred in 2020, when it purchased development firm AppSheet.

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