Puretech Ownership1
Therapeutic Candidate2
Initial Indication(s)
Stage of Development
44.6% Equity
Sonde One for Respiratory
Respiratory risk detection and monitoring app
Commercial Release
Sonde Mental Fitness

Monitoring vocal features linked to depression, anxiety and cognition

Commercial Release

1 As of December 31, 2021, PureTech’s percentage ownership of Sonde was approximately 44.6% on a diluted basis. This calculation includes outstanding shares, options, and warrants, but excludes unallocated shares authorized to be issued pursuant to equity incentive plans.
2 These therapeutic candidates are regulated as devices and their development has been approximately equated to phases of clinical development. Candidates are investigational and have not been cleared by the FDA for use in the U.S.

Developing a voice-based technology platform that detects voice changes linked to health conditions

Sonde is developing a voice-based technology platform that detects voice changes linked to health conditions – like depression and respiratory disease – from changes in voice. Using advanced audio signal processing and machine learning, Sonde senses and analyzes subtle vocal changes due to changes in a person’s physiology to provide early health detection and monitoring for depression and respiratory conditions. We believe Sonde’s Vocal Biomarker program has demonstrated the potential to screen and monitor for disease using information obtained from an individual’s voice on commonly owned devices, such as smartphones and smart speakers, and it has the potential to fundamentally change the way mental and physical health is screened and monitored.

  • Program Discovery Process by the PureTech Team
    • We were interested in new ways to detect and quantify disease in a low- to no-burden manner that could allow for more proactive and potentially effective interventions. We selected vocal features as a leading source of health data for this purpose, particularly given the evolving technology landscape where voice interactions with devices are rapidly increasing and identified and in-licensed proprietary technology from Thomas Quatieri, Ph.D., at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory in May 2016. Pursuant to an exclusive license agreement with Dr. Quatieri, we paid an upfront fee and are obligated to pay annual license maintenance fees, both of which we deem immaterial. Pursuant to the agreement, we are also obligated to pay MIT a low single-digit running royalty of net sales of any commercialized product covered by the agreement and a mid-double-digit running royalty of net sales of any commercialized product of a party that we sublicense. MIT is also eligible to receive milestone payments upon the achievement of specified development, regulatory and commercial milestones. We developed additional, novel intellectual property around this concept and helped advance the technology from an academic concept to a commercially focused technology. A core PureTech team member who played a critical role in founding Sonde is currently the Chief Operating Officer.
  • Patient Need & Market Potential
    • The lag between onset of disease and accurate diagnosis and beginning of treatment can be measured in years for many high-burden health conditions, including depression, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and respiratory diseases, to name just a few. In the U.S., 42% of adults report experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, which represents a four-fold increase from 2019, yet less than 10% of people with a mental health condition receive effective treatment. Studies have shown that health conditions including depression, stress, anxiety, sleepiness/fatigue and certain respiratory conditions can impact vocal features such as smoothness, control, liveliness, energy range and clarity. Near-continuous health information, powered by Sonde’s technology, has the potential to improve screening, monitoring and timeliness of treatment of high-cost conditions, broadly improving outcomes and care efficiency.
    • Development of effective therapies for central nervous system diseases and disorders is hampered by the high cost and inherent variability of these diseases and the reference diagnostic measures used to characterize them. Objective digital tools that can augment, and perhaps one day replace, the current clinical endpoints with novel measures that can be quantified with more meaningful accuracy and less burden can improve patient enrollment and drug development for a range of important conditions.
  • Milestones Achieved & Development Status
    • In October 2021, Sonde announced the launch of Sonde Mental Fitness, a voice-enabled mental health detection and monitoring technology that uses a brief voice sample to evaluate mental well-being. Sonde Mental Fitness is currently available through its API platform for integration into third-party apps. It’s also available as a standalone app for iOS and Android, mobile devices to serve as a proof-of-concept for health systems, employers and wellness services interested in testing out the API’s capabilities.
    • In May 2022, Sonde announced it has teamed up to study the effectiveness of Sonde’s Mental Fitness app as an engagement and monitoring tool for patients with depression and anxiety to help health systems and wellness service providers enhance patient care. Following a pilot program in 2020, Sonde Health and CBI are working hand in hand to ensure Sonde Mental Fitness delivers on its promise and meets the needs of users and therapists.

    • In January 2022, Sonde announced the signing of a multi-year strategic partnership with GN Group to research and develop commercial vocal biomarkers for mild cognitive impairment. The research will serve as the backbone for new voice-based tools to help at-risk individuals gain timely and accurate health insights using GN Group’s device technologies and, ultimately, to enable early detection and management of life-threatening diseases for the millions of people living with hearing loss.
    • In July 2021, Sonde announced its strategic collaboration with leading chipmaker Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. to embed Sonde’s vocal biomarker technology into its flagship and high-tier Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 888 and 778G 5G Mobile Platforms to help bring native, machine learning-driven vocal biomarker capabilities to mobile devices globally. The optimization has the potential to unlock several native health screening and monitoring applications on up to the hundreds of millions of mobile devices that use these Snapdragon mobile platforms.
    • Sonde has collected over one million voice samples from over 80,000 subjects as a part of the ongoing validation of its platform, and it has also initiated research and development to expand its proprietary technology into mental fitness, respiratory disease, and other health, wellness and safety use cases. Sonde has ongoing collaborative partnerships with leading institutions including Montefiore, UCSD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yale University, Partners Massachusetts General Hospital and multiple other ex-U.S. hospitals, clinics and academic medicine centers.
    • In July 2020, Sonde launched Sonde One for Respiratory, a new voice-enabled health detection and monitoring app, to potentially help employers improve employee safety, meet government mandates and satisfy their own administrative needs as they reopen office doors in a COVID-19 environment. Leveraging the company’s advanced vocal biomarker platform and machine learning technology, Sonde One combines 6-second voice analysis, CDC-informed COVID-19 questionnaire and body temperature reporting in one app and is designed to give employees clear instructions about where they can work within one minute. Sonde has partnered with 12 enterprise companies in the U.S. and India including corporate wellness solutions provider Wellworks for You to bring the health screening tool to market, SHI International, a 5,000-person global provider of technology products and services and Portea Medical, India’s largest home health company. The company began implementing the Sonde One for Respiratory app in August, as it has the potential to help employers bring employees back to the workplace. 
    • In August 2020, Sonde acquired NeuroLex Labs, a leading voice-enabled survey and data acquisition platform. As part of the agreement, Jim Schwoebel, the Chief Executive Officer of NeuroLex, has joined Sonde’s leadership team as Vice President, Data and Research. The transaction did not involve any financial participation from PureTech.

     

     

    • In November 2020, Sonde announced the launch of a new Developer Portal that provides organizations with access to Sonde’s advanced vocal biomarker-based health check technology. As part of the launch, Sonde has introduced a new self-serve application programming interface (API) and documentation to allow developers to quickly, easily and autonomously integrate Sonde’s voice-enabled respiratory symptoms checker into their own iOS and Android mobile applications.
  • Expected Milestones
    • Sonde plans to launch key pilot programs in the employer wellness, health system and provider space in 2022. 

Note: Sonde has obtained Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval independently or in collaboration with partner institutions that covers all past and ongoing human data collection for research in the U.S. and abroad. We have two board designees on the board of directors of Sonde, but Sonde has its own independent management team. Our role in the development of Sonde’s therapeutic candidates is through our representation on its board of directors and our role as a majority shareholder. Sonde is well-protected with a robust intellectual property portfolio. Sonde was incorporated in February 2015.

Sonde launched Sonde Mental Fitness, a voice-enabled mental health detection and monitoring technology that uses a brief voice sample to evaluate mental well-being,  and has initiated research and development to expand its proprietary technology into mental fitness, respiratory disease, and other health, wellness and safety use cases. Additionally, the company’s Vocal Biomarker program has demonstrated the potential to screen and monitor for disease using information obtained from an individual’s voice on commonly owned devices, such as smartphones and smart speakers, and it has the potential to fundamentally change the way mental and physical health is screened and monitored.