Further research into symptoms, causes, and treatments for the 32 million food allergy sufferers in the United States has long been sought, but has historically been underfunded.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which oversees disease research, has a total annual budget of $120 per person, and only $0.19 per person is spent on food allergy research. This is a surprisingly small amount considering the number of Americans who suffer from food allergies in adults and children alike.
Investment in digital health will peak in 2021, with total venture funds reaching $29.1 billion. Investment surged after the pandemic, with investors increasing their interest in medical technology, especially telemedicine. Luckily for those with food allergies, the food allergy department has benefited from this influx of funds.
Recent Health Tech Growth
In the past, there has been a frequent backlash against telemedicine due to concerns about privacy and quality of care. However, global lockdowns have forced many Americans to take advantage of telemedicine, and many patients, doctors and hospitals have used it and realized its benefits.
Customer demand has prompted new partnerships between healthcare providers and technology companies. And finally, there was the tech stack for digital health. Companies don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel. This is what many of the early players in the field had to struggle with.
Food allergy tech innovators now have access to third-party customizable tools for electronic health records, clinical support, billing, and prescribing. Today, new health tech, pharma, or biotech companies work with at least five partners throughout product launches, significantly speeding up the timeline from idea to market. These types of collaborations have made launching healthtech startups cheaper and more accessible than ever before.
The influx of capital and interest into the health technology sector has provided established companies and many start-ups with opportunities to grow, especially in the area of food allergies.
The Rise of Food Allergy Platforms
With approximately 11% of adults and 8% of children in the United States dealing with food allergies, leveraging health technology to manage allergies is a new, safe and exciting opportunity.
Food allergies affect people’s daily lives and can seriously affect their quality of life. And it is not only everyday life, but also leisure time. The study found that 42% of his family members with food allergies limit family travel, and 90% limit vacations to within the United States due to concerns about access to safe food. However, recent increases in investment have made new technologies available to more people to manage their allergies.
The funding was able to support various digital food allergy innovations. Portable allergen sensors, such as allergy amulets, can help reduce anxiety about hidden ingredients when dining out. It can detect when specific food allergens are present, allowing people with food allergies to have more confidence in what their food does and does not contain. It can provide new eating out freedom that people did not previously have.
Some companies specialize in pediatric allergies. For example, Super Awesome Care, a virtual clinic for children with food allergies. Within the platform, parents have access to a dedicated care team of pediatric allergists, nutritionists, behavioral therapists, customized education, and a community of other food allergy families.
Additionally, in 2020, the first venture capital firm dedicated to food allergy treatment, diagnostics and product development was established. AllerFund shows how far the food allergy community has come and how the health technology “gold rush” has benefited the food allergy sector.
The future of health tech
Healthtech investment is down, down 36% from the previous quarter, but the decline is happening across many industries, not just healthcare. Investors have raised a rallying cry to help fund innovation during the pandemic. Moreover, recent economic conditions have kept investors away from the market.
Many questions have been raised about the recent setback in investment and how this will affect new and existing health tech companies, including food allergy tech platforms. Companies with product-market fit are more likely to find a more acceptable funding environment. For those who are not, tough times may lie ahead.
Investors are more gun-phobic now and will need more to take a leap of faith, especially in the early stages. To survive and thrive in this new environment, digital health companies will need to You have to focus on your customers and think about how to acquire and retain them. One of the best ways to do this is by increasing customer satisfaction and providing a great user experience.
New food allergy start-ups aren’t all doom and gloom, as they still have the opportunity to gain interest and funding from industry giants like Johnson & Johnson. , provided grants to innovative start-ups. The winner of this challenge received $150,000 in funding and mentorship.
The health tech industry is currently experiencing funding stagnation, but the current situation won’t last forever. The global digital health market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 25% from 2019 to 2025. The world is finally experiencing the life-changing benefits of digital health, and the allergy health technology train will continue to make progress.
It’s clear that innovation will continue as digital food allergy solutions finally catch the eye of investors and their vast array of potential customers.
About the author
Rania Nasis, MD, MBA is the founder and CEO of Super Awesome Care, a technology-enabled healthcare platform for children with food allergies and their families. Her mission as a physician entrepreneur and digital health professional is to provide every family with the best food allergy care, when and where they need it.