Towards safer drug prescription with Synapse

This is a 2,5 million € seed round, and a very promising one. Just a few months after inception, Synapse already helps doctors prescribe drugs more safely. We are very proud to lead this round, and to have our friends at Kima Ventures and BNP Paribas Développement ride along.

Keeping up with medical complexity

Synapse was launched last summer. It’s an app that doctors use as an assistant for medication decision making. As medical knowledge becomes more complex, with populations getting older and polydrug-use on the rise, staying relevant, aware and accurate in any circumstance becomes harder than ever. Asking doctors to anticipate all implications for their decisions becomes unrealistic and dangerous. We believe that in the near future medicine will rely more on AI Algorithms for personalization, and Synapse could be one of the winning platforms.

Medical errors are the 3rd cause of mortality in western countries, and 80% of them are drug-related. Thousands of people die each year from wrong diagnostics, drug overdoses and complications that could be avoided for the most part. The human, social and economic consequences are astounding, and widely underestimated by the general public.

Say hello to the augmented doctor

Louis & Clément used to work in a hospital, as doctors. That’s where they realized how bad the situation was : the information on molecules & contraindications is scattered over 50+ different databases (one for pregnant women, one for chemio patients, etc.), unrelated to each other.

Because they are true geeks, they frequently attended healthcare related hackathons, trying to have impact. They started working on a solution for this drug prescription issue, and built the app that would become Synapse. Clément quickly flew to Stanford to improve it, working with doctors on user experience. The main challenge was to offer doctors clear indications on what drugs to use, and the associated risks. This requires making pharma databases understandable by an algorithm to begin with. The app is then able to understand the semantics of their questions, and to give simple answers; all based on aggregated drug prescription databases. They built Synapse as a decision making assistant.

Straightforward impact: just what I love

As VCs, we come across a lot of great healthcare projects. Few of them have such bold, direct impact on people and society : This is AI that saves lives! Synapse is exactly the kind of tech startup we’re looking for : outstanding people who believe they can solve the world’s biggest issues, ambition, perfect execution and impact. Think Wandercraft, Ouihelp, or La Ruche Qui Dit Oui.

The team, a great mix of techies & doctors, launched the app last summer only. By August, it was already being tested by over 300 doctors, mostly in hospitals. Most of them have become regular users. Synapse team will be able to rely on our full support for this : mine, our friends’ at Kima & BNP Paribas Développement, and also their great business angels.

It’s only the beginning. With the money raised, the team will recruit data scientists to work faster on the pharma databases. They will also hire the right people to address major hospitals in France, before heading to the USA where contacts are strong. As we said : impact !