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Cleerly raises $192M in hearty Series C joined by Peter Thiel

Illustration of a one-hundred-dollar bill with a portrait of a heart.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Cleerly, a New York-based digital health company focused on heart disease, raised $192 million in Series C funding.

Why it matters: Funds are flowing to virtual care startups focused on heart conditions—particular ones leveraging artificial intelligence like Cleerly.

Context: Those startups include remote monitoring startup Story Health and cardiac arrest treatment developer Avive Solutions, each of which raised a respective $22 million in Series A funds this spring.

  • Compared to those companies' respective raises, the size of Cleery's fundraise is heart-stopping.

Deal details: Funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates and Investment Management and Fidelity Management and Research Company led the oversubscribed round.

  • Sands Capital, Piper Sandler’s Merchant Banking and Heartland Healthcare Capital funds, Mirae Asset Capital, Peter Thiel and Breyer Capital also joined.
  • So did insiders Vensana Capital, LRVHealth, New Leaf Ventures, Cigna Ventures and DigiTx Partners. 
  • The round brings the company's total funding to roughly $262 million.

How it works: Cleerly's core offering is a software overlay that adds AI to coronary CT scans.

  • Its imaging uses a coronary computed tomography angiogram, an advanced X-ray that looks at the heart and its blood vessels, to assess the health of coronary arteries.
  • And its clinician- and patient-facing tools are designed to track improvements or declines in patients' heart health.
  • The company says it is built on research performed at the Dalio Institute for Cardiovascular Imaging at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medicine that includes clinical trials performed on more than 50,000 patients.

What they're saying: For years, clinicians had few tools at their disposal to actually measure heart disease. Instead, they were merely looking at its downstream impacts. Cleerly is designed to give clinicians the tools to do exactly that.

  • "We had this epiphany when we started our heart health program at Cornell: Heart doctors have never actually measured heart disease," Cleerly founder and CEO James Min tells Axios. "So we measure heart disease. That's something we've never done as a field at scale."

What's next: With the funds, Cleerly plans to grow its team and power more research on patient outcomes.

  • Much of that growth will involve expanding the company's commercial segment, which sells into health systems in accordance with the traditional fee-for-service approach. But Min says he sees a future for the company in value-based care models as well.
  • In value-based arrangements you're going at risk, where the goal is prevention of early disease, Min says. "So our goal is to identify every at-risk individual."
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