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WFW advises on US$16m Series A financing round for vocal biomarker technology16 April 2019

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Sonde Health Inc. (“Sonde”), a company developing a voice-based technology platform for monitoring and diagnosing mental and physical medical conditions, completed a US$16m Series A financing round, including the issuance of US$6m in shares upon conversion of debt into equity last week.

Watson Farley & Williams (“WFW”) advised a syndicate led by M Ventures (the corporate venture capital arm of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany) and also comprising MP Healthcare Venture Management, Inc. (the corporate venture capital arm of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation), Neoteny 4, LP, Canepa Healthcare and founder PureTech Health.

Sonde’s proprietary technology is designed to enable a range of consumer devices, such as smartphones and smart speakers, to provide disease screening and management solutions based on acoustic analysis of seconds of voice. Sonde is working to create seamless universal access to accurate and timely health information, which has the potential to promote wellness and improve the timing and selection of a range of therapeutic interventions. This approach could help prevent and treat conditions ranging from depression and respiratory diseases to age-related conditions.

“One of the oldest tools in our health care arsenal, the thermometer, is arguably still one of the most valuable because of its simplicity and widespread availability outside the clinical setting. Our longstanding vision has been to harness the health information present in billions of daily voice interactions to create a 21st century thermometer, or ‘vocometer’, that provides broad digital healthcare decision support needed to enable new models of precision and preventative medicine,” said Jim Harper, co-founder and chief operating officer of Sonde Health. “This financing round and the support of our new long-term partners allows us to accelerate the development of this ground-breaking technology and help deliver the positive impact it can have on an individual’s health and the healthcare system”.

“At M Ventures we back exceptional science and technology entrepreneurs to bring potentially disruptive ideas to reality,” said Edward Kliphuis, investment director for new businesses at M Ventures. “Sonde’s best-in-class vocal biomarker technology, driven by a great founder team, is such a transformational idea, which has the potential to positively impact patient outcomes by fundamentally reimagining how mental and physical conditions are currently monitored and managed”.

The cross-border WFW team advising the syndicate was led by Frankfurt Corporate Partner Dr Christoph Naumann and New York Associate Daniel Berger. New York Partner Steven Hollander advised on the CFIUS-related aspects of the transaction.

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