New Investment: PIPRA, an AI-Based Pre-Surgical Tool to Assess Patients’ Risk of Suffering Post-Surgery Disorders

By Matteo Moscarelli & Tommaso Maschera Published on August 10, 2022

We're excited to be backing PIPRA, an AI-based pre-surgical tool to assess patients’ risk of suffering POD, in their €2.1m (CHF2.1m) seed round with StartAngels Network, Zürcher Kantonalbank, and Forward VC. PIPRA also received an additional €737k (CHF750k) non-equity-based grant from Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency.

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Postoperative delirium is a global problem

More than 2m people in the U.S., and an estimated 47m globally, are affected every year by postoperative delirium, a state of confusion, memory loss, and disorientation that can be traumatic for patients and their relatives. Furthermore, delirium was shown to increase the risk of developing dementia by 13.9 times. The medical profession admits it neither understands nor can cure this disease.

This condition can be very debilitating to patients and increases the risk of dementia by 14 times — increasing the readmission rate and all-cause mortality. Delirium has a 60% higher cost to healthcare than diabetes in the U.S., making it one of the significant problems in healthcare today.

There are a few prevention solutions, such as multi-modal models with pre-admission risk reduction counseling, perioperative monitoring, and training of multidisciplinary patient care providers, which are demonstrated to work. Still, they're broadly too expensive for hospitals. On the other hand, effective treatments are also too costly to deploy for every patient undergoing surgery, and it's often challenging to estimate which patients will incur such problems.

Despite the level of complexity in estimating the risk of POD for each patient, decisions around who to prioritize for prevention and treatment are generally taken by doctors solely based on their professional experience and heuristics, rather than using data and mathematical models. One such decision includes the length of time a patient should be kept in observation in the hospital before being discharged as a preventative measure.

In sum, post-surgery disorders cause patients pain and high hospital costs. Elderly patients with POD exhibit reduced cognitive functioning, poorer engagement in activities of daily living, higher rate of readmissions, and 3x in-hospital mortality. Moreover, the recovery stay for patients with delirium is also 1.5 times more extended than that of non-delirium patients. Because of these problems, the average hospital incurs an annual cost of €7m.

The solution and the team behind PIPRA

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PIPRA’s solution is a browser-based software that consists of an AI-based pre-surgical tool to assess patients’ risk of suffering from POD based on carefully curated and harmonized, research-grade clinical patient data.

PIPRA’s AI-based solution makes pre-surgical screening and precise risk assessment possible and will thus contribute to decreasing the incidence of POD.

Specifically, by leveraging PIPRA’s platform, doctors can compile a questionnaire with several inputs (e.g., age, ASA status, history of delirium, number of medications, etc.) and get an immediate result on the risk for the patient of developing delirium. Studies show that implementing preventive measures can have a 53% cost-effective reduction in delirium and improve patient outcomes.

We're proud to support a complete team with relevant and diversified experiences. John, CEO & Founder, is a serial entrepreneur, having already founded successful companies. Benjamin, CTO/CSO & co-founder, holds a unique academic path (Oxford Ph.D.) and worked for multinational pharma companies such as Roche and Pfizer. Nayeli, Chief Medical Officer & co-founder, has 14 years of clinical experience as an anesthesiologist and holds a medical degree from the University of Lausanne.

Thanks to their market expertise and vision, we're confident that the PIPRA team will enormously improve patients' health and hospital efficiency, and we are excited to work with them.