Lyme disease management tool Clymb Health aims to improve quality of life for chronic disease sufferers.
I Schoolers are working on a startup, Clymb Health, to help patients and physicians work together to find the best treatments for the tick-borne infection Lyme disease. The project continues to gain recognition and momentum through competitions and funding opportunities across campus.
The startup, co-led by Usman Raza (MIMS ’18), is a chronic disease management tool that uses personalized machine learning to help users with Lyme disease track their health data and share it with their doctor. With this data and other information, Clymb Health can identify and predict disease triggers. The product could potentially extend and improve the quality of life for millions of patients around the world.
Clymb Health participated in the Hult Prize competition at UC Berkeley this past December, which focuses on scalable technology that provides a positive social impact. They were one of eight startups who pitched their ideas to a panel of three judges, and ideas ranged from harvesting sea wave energy to improving aquaculture. Clymb Health was named was named runner-up in the high-profile competition, and is currently continuing on to the second round of the Bay Area Global Health Innovation Challenge.
The startup is led by a team of four: Raza from the I School, Shannon Herline from Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, Whitney Herline, and Daniel Lopez Martinez from Harvard and MIT. The four have incredibly diverse backgrounds. Raza, who will graduate from the Master of Information Management and Systems (MIMS) program this May, is also the first physician to be a part of the MIMS program. His background in medicine allows him to bring a unique experience and perspective to the team and their work. The team is a past winner of the Dean’s Seed Fund and the Haas HackingLyme hackathon.
“Shannon initiated the concept two years ago at a Lyme disease hackathon when her sister Whitney was struggling with Lyme disease,” Raza said. Herline and Raza met in December 2016 and began the collaboration that would become Clymb Health. Raza was drawn to the project for its value and purpose. “This is about solving a healthcare challenge where little work has been done, and it is extensible to other chronic conditions. I want to be involved in work that will improve many lives while leveraging technology in a meaningful way.”
Clymb Health intends to create an ecosystem of care around patients, which would include their physician, dietician, nutritionist, psychotherapist, and anyone else involved in the individual’s health. As they have worked on the business, their vision has changed. Initially, their goal was simply to create a symptom tracking tool for individuals with Lyme disease – their purpose has since evolved to now creating a system that helps patients in a much larger and more holistic way.
Clymb Health & the Launch Accelerator
MIMS students Usman Raza and Sandeep Pal (who works on the technical arm of the project) and Shannon Herline, have also been selected for the LAUNCH incubator this spring for Clymb Health. LAUNCH is Berkeley’s own highly selective startup accelerator that supports the best startups in the UC system. This partnership will help the team find a viable business model for the startup as they continue to develop their technology.
As they participate in the accelerator program this semester, the team is working on various aspects of the business, and focusing on building their technology and finding a scalable business model. The value proposition of the startup right now is “a tool for people to collect data on their condition and reproduce when needed” Raza explained. Eventually, it could also be used as a tool for conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and other similar conditions. In the future, Clymb Health will look to expand into these other areas, but, Raza says “our main priority right now is making sure our technology is solid.”
The tool is designed to serve both the patients and their physicians. Patients track their own data and symptoms, while physicians are given access to data that other physicians have collected. This allows physicians to have the most data available to them in order to find the treatments that work best for their patients. To do this, the team is hard at work to produce a functioning prototype of a visualization tool for both patients and physicians.
Clymb Health & the I School
Students at the I School are also working with Clymb Health through their 2018 MIMS final project: Intelligent Symptom Tracker for Lyme Disease. The project represents the technical arm of the startup’s product development. The final project team includes Raza, Arnav Goyal, Sandeep Pal, Abhishek Sinha, and Shannon Herline.
We intend to build a secure digital platform, backed by machine learning, for persons affected by Lyme disease to manage their health data ... By aggregating population data, with information from wearable devices, we can identify and predict disease triggers ... The app will enable patients to send data and automated reports to physicians for review and interventions.
“The team for this project is specifically focusing on building the data analytics and visualization for the app, as well as figuring out the nuances of the user interface for the app” Raza explained.
Clymb Health will continue to test out different business models, find out more about customer needs, and grow their technology as they prepare to pitch to investors this month. They currently have a minimum viable product available for customers at app.clymbhealth.com.