Redwood City, Calif.-based Q Bio Inc., which is offering a quantitative assessment of personal health, has come out of stealth mode, scooping up $40 million in a series B funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz. The funds are earmarked to improve its proprietary platform and technology to make its preventive health services faster, better and more affordable for all.
“As this is a very complicated problem we are trying to solve, it was important that we take the time to get it right,” Jeff Kaditz, CEO and co-founder of Q Bio, told BioWorld when asked why the company decided to come out of stealth mode at this time. “We’ve been focused on R&D, early member experience, incorporating clinician feedback on the platform and clinical relevance and efficiency of the Q Exam protocol.”
He also noted that it was important for the company to ensure reproducibility and scalability. “But until we could prove scalability and solve for and address some of the more common misconceptions, we felt that there wasn’t any point in sharing what we were up to more broadly.”
As it remained under the radar, the company has focused on fine tuning its imaging protocols and determining the most clinically relevant set of biomarkers to include in its platform that can look for existential risks in an asymptomatic population. In 75 minutes or less, members can obtain a comprehensive picture of their health and receive a web-based dashboard that they can review from anywhere with their chosen clinicians.
Its efforts appear to have paid off, with its exam supplying information to patients, providing blood, urine, and saliva sample collection for laboratory analysis, as well as a non-invasive, whole body MRI and vital signs measurement.
Kaditz’s passion to help patients obtain accurate measurements followed his own misdiagnoses more than a decade ago after being hit by a car. He went on to found Q Bio in late 2015 with Michael Snyder and Garry Choy.
Their vision has attracted a lot of attention. “We are thrilled to have our current investors continue to share our vision and excitement for what is possible in the field of preventive health,” Kaditz said. The roster of investors includes Khosla Ventures, Founders Fund, Beast Ventures, Thirty5 Venturers, Sea Lane Venturers and Scifi VC.
In connection to the funding, Vijay Pande, general partner, Andreessen Horowitz, along with Vinod Khosla from Khosla Ventures will formally join Kaditz on the company’s board. Clarissa Shen, who joined as Q Bio last year as chief operating officer (COO), also will join as a board observer.
Quick, accurate decisions
In terms of what sets its offering apart, Kaditz said the company is focusing on giving individuals and physicians needed tools and information in order to make quick and accurate health-related decisions. “This is the most valuable thing any one of us can have when we get sick or injured and can help avoid a lot of unnecessary interventions in the health care system today. We create the most comprehensive baselines so that in a time of crisis, it is easy to compare you to your previous self and quickly isolate what changes could be correlated to the current symptoms or issues you are facing.”
He then highlighted the top ways Q Bio’s HIPAA-compliant offering is different from what is available. He called it a reimagined physical, accurately assessing what is changing in the body in a certain order to make sure the findings are as controlled as possible. Also, given that it is designed to scale, the offering should become faster and less expensive with time.
Finally, he labeled it a search engine for the body, particularly at a time when physicians increasingly have more access to information. Kaditz wants to provide a tool that helps doctors, rather than being a burden. “Our platform helps correlate a variety of factors to automatically identify the most relevant changes related to your risk factors and surface them to your doctor.”
According to the company’s website, there are three membership levels: Health Q, Monitor Q, and Citizen Scientist Q, priced at $3,495, $6,495 and $14,995. Health Q offers a single 75-minute Q Exam per year, in addition to 30-min telemedicine data review. Monitor Q offers two exams a year plus two telemedicine data reviews. Citizen Scientist Q offers more benefits, such as a 15-minute additional detailed risk-related MRI scan and advanced genetics panels and blood toxin analyses. The site noted that the company is considering offering multi-year plans, with a discount based on the number of years and number of visits per year.
Several organizations and health facilities offer so-called executive physicals, which have drawn some scrutiny. A research letter dated Sept. 17, 2019, and published in JAMA looked at hospitals offering such packages. They looked at 32 facilities after evaluating so-called honor roll hospitals from the 2018-2019 US News & World Report’s best hospitals rankings. The authors noted that information about included services was available for 29, and prices for the packages ranged from $1,700 to $10,000. Of note, the authors determined that certain services – such as risk-based lung cancer screening – were not included in any package.
Still, Q Bio is looking to broaden its consumer base beyond the C-Suite. Up to now, the company deliberately emphasized simplicity in terms of membership. “[W]e invited key clinicians and people in our networks to join, as well as set up an interest form on our website to see what kind of reactions we’d get.” Because of overwhelming demand, the company created a waitlist, with an eye toward ensuring quality experiences to preliminary members.
“To help support us scale operationally, we also hired our COO Clarissa Shen earlier than we had originally anticipated,” Kaditz explained.
The company also is eyeing additional locations in major metro areas outside its Redwood City location based on comments obtained from current members, in addition to the demand from its current waitlist. “We are also talking to a number of possible distribution partners to see if there are opportunities to reach more people without compromising our vision,” he said, adding that some members have chosen to fly to Redwood City instead of waiting for the opening of a new location.
“We have barely scratched the surface of what we have planned and what is possible,” Kaditz responded when asked about plans for the next 12 to 18 months. “Again, this is a very complicated problem we are trying to solve for, and what we currently offer is just a small piece of the overall puzzle.” He reiterated his excitement related to new locations, adding that the company will make more announcements as it continues to scale.