Prosody, hesitation, tone, or the way words are arranged before saying them are factors that help determine the state of a person’s cognitive abilities. At Accexible, born in 2018, they develop algorithmic models that analyze them to diagnose dementia or Alzheimer’s, among other ailments, early and with an accuracy of 93%.
The germ of the company was a clinical study that Carla Zaldua, co-founder and CEO, had read about the same year it was created. “It had been done with a very small group of 15 people and the whole process had been done manually. And it had given positive results ”, he says. He discussed it with his brother Javier and they sent a proposal to the Biscay Provincial Council to start a test. “The results were very good and there we launched ourselves to found Accexible”, he says.
In 2018 and 2019 they carried out the necessary trials for clinical validation and in 2020 they embarked on the certification process, which they completed in December, to go on the market. “If I start thinking from scratch now that I have to get a medical device certified, I think I don’t do it,” says Zaldua with a laugh. Red tape and bureaucratic processes often conflict with the reality and operation of a startup. For example, he says, the ethics committee in charge of approving the protocols meets once a month. “If they ask you for more information about a certain thing, they review it the following month. An obstacle that for a start-up with little liquidity it is very big ”.
Its algorithms learn to diagnose as a doctor would, but in an automated way, without hand transcripts, non-invasively and remotely. “What we do is the early detection of cognitive deterioration to try to slow down the disease with treatment,” points out this 44-year-old from Bilbao, master in information systems.
All the patient needs is a device that has a microphone and an internet connection. Currently, its tool is available in a web version and for the iPhone operating system. “Digital also allows you to look at the progression of the disease. The big data that we collect can be captured in graphs and see the impact that a certain treatment has had, for example ”, says the executive director of Accexible.
The company, in which five people work, is going through a sweet moment after closing a financing round of 800,000 euros. With a turnover of 50,000 euros in 2020 and a valuation of 2.5 million euros, they are not yet in the green numbers, but they plan to balance their accounts by the end of this year. At the moment they seek to promote marketing in Spain, both in public and private health systems; establish itself in the United Kingdom and begin its journey in the United States. In addition, they are working on two new modules for depression and Parkinson’s.