Digital health startup aims to create personalized medical dispensing devices

An Indianapolis startup wants to raise about $100 million to build a health-digital system that would allow doctors to monitor and adjust the dosing of drugs for patients based on their real-time therapeutic response to a drug.

Zig Therapeutics Inc. signed a contract with the Indiana Economic Development Corp. to create 50 jobs in exchange for $500,000 worth performance-based, refundable corporate income tax credits, dubbed EDGE credits.

The jobs include artificial intelligence, machine learning, and embedded software development positions. The company has promised that the jobs will pay an average hourly wage of $25, but some of the positions will pay “well over $100,000,” board member Mike Earley said.

The contract was certified by the Indiana State Budget Agency on May 4. According to early documents, the company expected to invest at least $25.7 million in the project. But Earley said that based on the high level of technology required, the company is now expecting to invest about $100 million.

The company was originally located in a shared workspace at 325 South College Avenue, a former bowling alley. Vicki Daniels, the company’s founder and CEO, said she recently moved the company from that location into Cowork 1010, a co-working space located in the Pyramids business center on the northwest side.

She said the company was talking to venture capitalists and others to raise additional funding, but said she had no commitments in hand yet.

“We’re getting very close,” she said. “…It is likely going to be over $100 million,” she said.

What the company aims to do is roll out a computing platform that includes the health, environmental, lifestyle and biological information of patients.

The platform would continuously collect information about patients, and doctors would use that information to personalize the dose of medicines, based on digital biomarkers.

Daniels described the products as mobile devices for patients that are preloaded with drugs that can be released by the doctor.

“The actual dosing and changing of dosing can be done in real time by the clinician, based on what they are seeing in the patient,” she said.

The mobile devices would connect by 5G or a Wi-Fi network to the doctor’s portal, she said.

The company needs to build a cleanroom to make the instruments. She said the devices would also need approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company needs to do several clinical trials to collect the data and build the instruments.

The company started out as KAC Health Inc. in 2015 and changed its name last year to Zig Therapeutics, according to Daniels’ LinkedIn page.

Daniels was a professor of operations and supply chain management from 2011 to 2015 at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, also according to her LinkedIn page.

Daniels said the company has several patents for the manufacturing system. She said she developed the machine learning technology; the dispensing system was invented by two outside physicians and a biomedical engineer, and Zig Therapeutics purchased that patent and now owns the intellectual property, she said.

Correction: This story has been corrected to reflect that the jobs will pay an average of $25 an hour, and some jobs are expected to pay more than $100,000 a year. You can see all of our corrections here.

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