We launched Sanius Health because of our drive and ambition to improve outcomes for patients whilst addressing the lack of data on rare diseases. Our approach is particularly prevalent when it comes to diseases like Amyloidosis, Myeloma and Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), which millions of people live with worldwide, meaning that there’s a growing need for tangible data-driven and digital solutions. From our experience, the key to advancing SCD care is through the utilisation of technologies that can provide detailed, real-time and actionable data to patients and clinicians to help them predict and manage their symptoms.
Sanius Health leads the charge when it comes to understanding this complex condition, by using machine learning to analyse large amounts of data from consented patient medical records, patient surveys and other sources to identify patterns and trends that can be used to predict and prevent complications from rare diseases.
Tell me about the business – what it is, what it aims to achieve, who you work with, how you reach customers and so on?
Sanius Health is a patient-generated health data tracking platform dedicated to improving the lives and wellbeing of people living with rare diseases – which are often, by their very nature, little understood – through better management of their conditions and symptoms.
We do so through the use of wearable technologies and AI-driven digital innovation. This allows Sanius Health to collect valuable, real-time insights from patients, in turn using its advanced digital platform and ecosystem to advance research into care and chronic conditions.
This paves the way for more effective treatments and tailored approaches to care that will ultimately enhance patients’ quality of life and provide them with ownership of their overall health outcomes.
How has the business evolved since its launch? When was this?
Our patient ecosystem has expanded since our launch spring 2022 beyond its primary focus on SCD to include other conditions such as a rare blood cancer called Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia, as well as Amyloidosis, which affects the body’s organs, neurological disorder Fabry and chronic myeloid leukaemia.
We have achieved this by forging partnerships with a wide network of NHS providers, charities, treatment centres, researchers, developers of therapeutics and regulators to advance outcomes for patients to build a truly comprehensive and unique picture of the UK’s health and rare diseases landscape. This has resulted in the number of patients joining the Sanius Health ecosystem increasing from 200 to 1,000, while the team has grown, with significant hires including an experienced consultant haematologist and haematology specialist pharmacist.
Tell us about the working culture at Sanius Health
We have a strong shared work ethic and I firmly believe that this – alongside a collaborative approach – allows team members to grow and develop into leaders themselves.
Witnessing their journey from junior team members to confident and capable leaders is truly inspiring. As a mentor and manager, it’s incredibly rewarding to be a part of their growth and see them take on new challenges with enthusiasm and dedication. I’ve had the pleasure of watching them hone their skills and build on their strengths, becoming invaluable members of the team.
It’s a testament to their hard work and determination, and it’s a privilege to have been a part of their journey. Seeing them achieve their goals and take on new responsibilities is one of the greatest things about being a leader myself. I couldn’t be prouder of the team we’ve built together and the amazing individuals they’ve become.
How are you funded?
Sanius Health started by being funded by me, I got lucky years ago with some investments in fintech, healthcare and marketplaces and it didn’t start as a business as such, but as a mission to improve three key areas; better quality of life, outcomes and personalised medicines for patients with rare and chronic diseases. I love helping humanity to move forward.
The second round focused on accelerating research to improve the gaps in care for patients and their unmet needs, with the third being focused on ultimately finding a cure for patients. The company also funds charitable causes which are patient-led.
What has been your biggest challenge so far and how have you overcome this?
The biggest challenge to date has been to not get distracted from our mission, but to focus on our patients, families, research, clinical colleagues and medicines discovery.
How does Sanius Health answer an unmet need?
We understand that rare diseases don’t have to result in thousands of people feeling isolated. This comes as over 17,000 people in the UK suffer from sickle cell disease (SCD), a rare genetic disorder which – often little understood – can lead to vaso-occlusive crises (VOCs). A VOC is a painful and debilitating symptom of the disease, which, without timely treatment, can lead to organ damage and death.
SCD patients often feel lonely – with limited clinical contact between regular healthcare appointments – resulting in them feeling as if they have no one to turn to. Added to the inability to predict when a VOC will strike, this frequently leads to patients requiring critical care at A&E, which can be both a frightening and overwhelming experience.
However, our AI-powered patient-generated ecosystem is significantly reducing SCD A&E attendances by 52%, inpatient admissions by 53% and the number of VOCs by 64%. It does this by combining the data from simple wearable health monitoring devices with medical and genomics data. Thanks to our ScanWatches, provided free of charge to Sanius Health users, patients are able to detect abnormal readings themselves and seek medical support quickly.
What’s in store for the future?
We plan to expand internationally into new territories, including the US, India and the Middle East over the next 12 to 24 months. We also hope to further grow our user base and expert team throughout 2023 and beyond to continue in our mission to help as many patients as possible who live with rare diseases, when they need it the most.
What one piece of advice would you give other founders or future founders?
I would say: “Keep Focused”.
When it comes to growing companies, it is important to maintain a laser focus on the things that truly matter. While having an impressive board or chairman may seem like an important aspect of building a successful business, without sales, profits, and growth, it is all just fantasy. Unless, of course, your goal is to build a fantasy company, in which case, carry on.
The key to success in growing a company is to identify what is essential to your mission and what is simply noise. It can be easy to get distracted by shiny objects and impressive-sounding ideas, but if they do not contribute to the growth and success of your business, they are simply a waste of time and resources.
By staying focused on the essential aspects of your mission, you can ensure that every action you take is moving your company forward in a positive direction. This may mean prioritising sales and marketing efforts over flashy board appointments or focusing on profitability rather than chasing after every possible growth opportunity.
Ultimately, the success of a company is measured by its ability to achieve its mission and goals. By staying focused on what truly matters, you can maximise your chances of reaching those goals and building a thriving, successful business.
And finally, a more personal question! What’s your daily routine and the rules you’re living by at the moment?
I’m an early riser so I’m up by 5.30, then I do emails and get ready for a workout, where I also do my emails. In between that, I help my son with breakfast and his morning routine and any questions he has about cars as he’s really into them. After that it’s meetings and work throughout the day, then I make dinner and get back to work.
In 15 years, I have never closed a deal early in the morning. It always happens on Fridays and late at night. For that reason, I live by a rule which says I don’t tend to take important meetings at those times. For the person on the other side, it’s also not what they want to be doing.
Orlando Agrippa is the founder and CEO of Sanius Health.