Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems, Inc. (IRIS), the industry leader in early detection systems for diabetic eye disease, today announced the company successfully closed a round of Series B financing. The round was led by Ballast Point Ventures, a later-stage venture capital and growth equity firm that invests in rapidly growing, privately owned companies in the health care and technology industries. The round also includes investments from two healthcare system funds, Providence Ventures and current IRIS customer, CoxHealth. Funds raised will be used to support the company’s expansion and growth strategy as well as to support IRIS’s goal of developing the next generation of products that detect eye disease and improve the monitoring and care of patients in diabetic populations.
“IRIS was founded with the idea that through innovative and forward-thinking preventative care systems, we could save the sight of millions of patients,” said IRIS Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sunil Gupta. “Everyone deserves a lifetime of sight. I am pleased that Ballast Point Ventures, Providence Ventures and CoxHealth have joined IRIS to improve the lives of patients with diabetes and see the value in our goal to develop the next generation of solutions.”
“With the capital from this financing, IRIS will be able to build on its leading position in the market while continuing to innovate and serve its forward-thinking health system clients,” said Matt Rice, Partner at Ballast Point Ventures. “We are excited to partner with Dr. Sunil Gupta, Jason Crawford, and the entire IRIS team to execute on the company’s mission of ending preventable blindness.”
“IRIS is emblematic of Providence Ventures’ investment strategy. Our fund’s interest was driven by deep insights collected from our Providence St. Joseph Health operating colleagues, and their enthusiasm regarding IRIS’s diverse and important value proposition. Providence St. Joseph Health’s clinical leaders are excited about the potential of the IRIS solution to dramatically enhance our ability to care for diabetic patients,” added Jeff Stolte, Partner at Providence Ventures.
“CoxHealth and IRIS have developed a partnership that has produced meaningful outcomes for our patients," said Jake McWay, Senior Vice President and CFO of CoxHealth. "In recognition of the results we achieved over the last year, we were jointly awarded a 2017 Microsoft Health Innovation Award. We are excited to see the impact of this expansion and investment, and believe great things are ahead for this collaboration."
The IRIS retinal telemedicine platform was developed to help end preventable, permanent blindness caused by diabetic retinopathy through early diagnosis. The IRIS platform is in place at 94 health systems across 28 states. IRIS seamlessly sits within a primary care physician’s existing workflow, dramatically increasing a health system’s ability to achieve superior annual diabetic retinopathy compliance rates. IRIS enables health systems to increase access, improve care coordination, lower costs and achieve 5-Star outcomes. In four years, IRIS clients have examined 183,498 patients with diabetes and found sight-threatening disease in nearly 31,624. One-third of the patients examined with the IRIS technology have been diagnosed with some form of retinal pathology.
“Great strides have been made to unseat diabetic retinopathy as the leading cause of blindness worldwide. The only barrier to success is early detection. IRIS closes the care gap for those patients that do not receive annual diabetic retinal exams. This investment will allow IRIS’s committed team and partners to execute to our vision of preventing blindness both here in the U.S. and worldwide,” added Dr. Gupta.
“Ballast Point Ventures, Providence Ventures and CoxHealth bring a deep understanding of the importance of population health management,” said IRIS CEO, Jason Crawford. “This investment will help us continue to improve the infrastructure, technology and services we deliver to our customers. It will lead to innovation that will place IRIS in a strong position to fuel the future of our product and improve the lives of every patient with diabetes that we touch.”
Matt Rice from Ballast Point Ventures and Jeff Stolte from Providence Ventures will join the IRIS Board of Directors, and Dr. C. Mark Costley, M.D. of CoxHealth will serve as Chair of IRIS’s newly established Clinical Advisory Board.
IRIS was advised by Ziegler, a healthcare-focused investment bank headquartered in Chicago, Ill.