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Investors pour $70M into Prenuvo’s speedy whole-body MRI machine – MedCity News

Investors pour $70M into Prenuvo’s speedy whole-body MRI machine – MedCity News

Prenuvo wants to transform medical imaging from something that people undergo infrequently to a process that is more like “the dentist for the rest of your body,” according to co-founder and CEO Andrew Lacy. With the company’s technology, he said patients can easily access quick, whole-body scans that can catch diseases early and give them peace of mind about their health.

Investors are getting behind this mission. On Tuesday, Prenuvo closed a $70 million Series A equity and debt funding round led by Felicis Ventures. Other investors include 23AndMe CEO Anne Wojcicki; iPhone and iPod creator Tony Fadell; actress and supermodel Cindy Crawford;  immunologist Dr. Timothy A. Springer; entrepreneur Rande Gerber; and technology management company Steel Perlot.

The company’s technology was born about a decade ago, when radiologist Dr. Raj Attariwala built an AI-powered MRI machine that scans people about three to four times faster than a regular MRI, Lacy said in an interview. Dr. Attariwala built this imaging technology after a close family friend of his died after her colon cancer was diagnosed too late. She had noted tiredness to her doctor on several occasions but was told that it wasn’t a cause for concern.

“This death was a constant reminder to [Dr. Attariwala] that the medical system just wasn’t doing a good job at all diagnosing things early,” Lacy said. “And so it became his mission to solve that.”

In 2018, after undergoing a scan that used Dr. Attariwala’s technology, Lacy partnered with the radiologist to form Prenuvo and begin opening MRI clinics. The company’s name references Dr. Attariwala’s friend who passed away, Reenu. According to Lacy, the “renu” in the middle serves as a constant reminder why the startup was founded — to prevent another situation like Renu’s from happening. 

Prenuvo’s MRI technology takes diagnostic quality images of the entire body in less than an hour, compared to the three to four hours it takes to complete a traditional whole-body MRI scan. This speed is what sets Prenuvo apart from its competitors in the MRI industry, such as Ezra and Imagion Biosystems, Lacy said.

The company’s machine can also detect more conditions than many of its competitors in the MRI space that focus only on cancer. The radiation-free machine is able to diagnose cancer at stage 1, along with 500 other medical conditions, according to Lacy.

Additionally, Prenuvo seeks to improve the patient experience of medical imaging — patients can watch shows on a flatscreen television or listen to music during their scan. When the scan is finished, radiologists review the images and immediately send the results to patients and their doctors using Prenuvo’s web and mobile apps.

Prenuvo has headquarters in Redwood City, California, but it operates seven clinics throughout the country. There are two clinics in Silicon Valley and one in Los Angeles, Vancouver, Dallas, Minneapolis and Boca Raton.

Using its newly raised funds, Prenuvo will open more locations over the course of the next six to nine months, Lacy said. These will include new clinics in New York City, Chicago, Boston and Bethesda.

The company is not solely focused on expansion, though. Moving forward, Prenuvo is also trying to bring down the cost of the scans it provides, according to Lacy. Right now each scan costs about $1,000, but he said the company is working to get that price “closer to $200 or $300” to improve patient accessibility.

Photo: metamorworks, Getty Images