Clarius Mobile Health partners with Novartis to deploy ultrasound scanners to Canadian rheumatologists

Clarius Mobile Health
Clarius’ handheld device will be used to support the early detection of psoriatic arthritis.

Vancouver-based healthtech startup Clarius Mobile Health has partnered with the Canadian division of Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis to deploy its handheld ultrasound device to Canadian rheumatologists to support the early detection of psoriatic arthritis.

Clarius said in a statement that the partnership is aimed at increasing access to ultrasound devices and training and improving outcomes for patients living with psoriatic arthritis. The condition affects some people who have psoriasis, a disease that causes red patches of skin. According to Clarius, this illness affects approximately 300,000 Canadians.

“We are honoured to collaborate with Novartis Canada on this innovative, focused approach to improving the care of patients suffering from this debilitating disease,” Clarius president and CEO Ohad Arazi said in a statement.

Clarius said its L15 HD3 scanner was selected for this commercial deployment, due to its ability to automatically provide detailed ultrasound images of superficial anatomy. According to a report from The Globe and Mail, Novartus will lease and distribute up to 400 of Clarius’s machines as part of the deal. The pharma company will also fund related software and training for doctors to use the devices until 2026, per The Globe.

“At Novartis, we recognize the tremendous potential AI holds for our industry and the healthcare landscape at large,” said Mark Vineis, Country President at Novartis Canada. “The partnership with Clarius has the potential to transform [psoriatic arthritis] detection, with the possibility of scaling to other immunology indications, across specialties and beyond Canada.”

Founded in 2014, Clarius develops wireless handheld ultrasound scanners aimed at helping healthcare practitioners manage and perform exams from anywhere. In addition to its hardware, Clarius also offers artificial intelligence-powered software that allows practitioners to identify and label anatomical structures or monitor heart rates in real-time.

The company sold its first ultrasound scanner in December 2016, and claims that its devices have been used in over four million scans, and that its devices are available in more than 90 countries.

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Clarius’ investors include Nimbus Synergies, Export Development Canada, and Pender Ventures, all three of which participated in a $20-million strategic investment round in 2022. The startup has previously received funding from InBC, a $500-million strategic investment fund that was created by the Government of BC in 2021, as well as the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada.

Clarius said that Novartis Canada has worked alongside ultrasound musculoskeletal experts in Canada, as well as members of the Canadian Rheumatology Ultrasound Society, to lead training sessions for rheumatologists who are enrolled in the ultrasound program.

One of those experts is Dr. Mohammad Bardi, a Vancouver-based practicing rheumatologist. In a statement, Dr. Bardi said being able to do this form of point-of-care testing is valuable.

“If I see someone who has inflammatory arthritis, I can start treatment with them and then I can bring them back three months later after I’ve given them a drug and see what’s changed,” Dr. Bardi added. “When I can show them their old images and their new images and they can see the difference, it really helps with patient adherence.”

Feature image courtesy of Clarius Mobile Health.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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