Company behind ‘digital pill’ with embedded chip raises $62.5M

Forgetting whether you took your meds will be a thing of the past if Proteus Digital Health has its way.  Last year, the Redwood, Calif. company received FDA clearance for a “digital pill” that tracks whether patients are taking their medication and how their bodies are responding to it. On Wednesday, Proteus said it had raised an additional $62.5 million to help bring its product to market.

The company said the second closing of its Series F round (it closed the first round in December) included new investor, database giant Oracle(s orcl), as well as previous investors Otsuko, Novartis, Sino Portfolio and others.

Proteus declined to comment on the new funding but, in a statement, CEO Andrew Thompson said the company is looking to its strategic partners to help accelerate its mission by embedding Proteus into already established products and services.

Since launching in 2003, the company has raised north of $100 million for its ingestible sensor technology. Proteus’s system includes the “digital pill,” a patch worn on the torso and an app on a Bluetooth-enabled mobile device. The sensor, made from a proprietary chip, is about the size of a grain of sand (1 mm square) and is mostly made of silicon.

Once the sensor is ingested with medication, the magnesium and copper in it reacts with the acid in the stomach to create a small electrical charge that enables it to communicate with the patch and app. The technology then lets the patient to log his medication, as well as share that information with health care providers and/or caregivers.

Swallowing a digital pill may turn the stomachs of some patients but medication adherence is a major problem. According to the New England Healthcare Institute, patients who don’t take their prescription medication cost the U.S. health care system an estimated $290 billion in avoidable medical costs each year.

In addition to receiving a minority investment from Oracle, Proteus said the two companies plan to work together in clinical trials and integrate Proteus’ ingestible sensor with Oracle’s clinical trial products, including its life sciences data hub and clinical trial management system, which both use the Oracle Health Sciences Cloud.

Proteus, which previously received approval from the European Union to market its ingestible sensor, says it plans to launch its first consumer-focused caregiver product Helius in select Lloyds Pharmacy stores in the UK soon,