Lee Hood’s newest venture, Arivale, raised a $36 million round to provide personalized wellness.
The U.S. health-care system does not spend enough money on preventing diseases. That’s what Lee Hood and Clayton Lewis think, and why they launched a Seattle startup, Arivale, to promote health.
“The health-care system is clearly upside down,” said Lewis, CEO and co-founder of the company. “The country spent nearly $4 trillion last year, almost all to diagnosing and treating rather than preventing disease.”
Arivale is announcing Tuesday that it has raised $36 million in a series B financing round from Arch Venture Partners, Polaris Partners and Maveron.
The company previously raised a $3 million series A, led by Maveron.
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Lewis and Hood, a renowned biologist, launched Arivale out of research from Seattle’s Institute for Systems Biology, which Hood co-founded in 2000. Arivale looks at participants’ genetics and baseline health, then pairs them with a coach to make diet, exercise and general wellness plans to avoid disease and conditions.
Arivale is not looking at medical genetics, only “those related to nutrition, exercise and wellness,” a company representative said. Participants can take the information gleaned from the testing back to their primary-care doctors for continued care.
The company opened its service to the Seattle public two weeks ago, after completing a yearlong study with 107 participants. Coaches made plans and encouraged the first group of customers, and participants acted on 70 percent of the “actionable possibilities,” or suggestions that coaches made, Lewis said.
Arivale builds on Hood’s decades of research into whole body health.
“We struggled for a number of years coming up with a plan whereby we could integrate predictive, personalized, preventative and participatory medicine,” Hood said. “It’s fair to say that the pilot was speculative in every dimension.”
Hood recruited Lewis, a Maveron general partner, during the first fundraising stage.
Arivale will use the money to add to the 150 participants now in the service. More than 1,000 people signed up for its online “more information” list, and the company is hiring swiftly to keep up with demand.
Arivale, which has 19 employees, plans to reach 50 by the end of the year. Most will be coaches — registered dietitians who help participants make wellness plans and stay on track. The company also is recruiting scientists and customer-service employees.
Arivale costs $2,000 a year. The service starts by testing every participant’s genetic makeup, blood, saliva and stool. That gives Arivale’s in-house doctor an idea of where baseline health stands. Then customers are paired with a coach to make a wellness plan. Customers chat with each coach monthly by phone, and check in regularly via text and email.
One of the first study participants was Tayloe Washburn, dean and CEO of Northeastern University in Seattle. Arivale tested his blood, looked at his genome sequencing and found he had elevated ferritin levels.
He was diagnosed with hemochromatosis, an iron disorder that can seriously affect the liver and pancreas.
”Most people don’t know until they have a heart attack and by then the organs are already destroyed,” Washburn said. “I’m appreciative for having participated because if not, sooner or later, I’d be going down a different trail.”
Arivale has also formed a scientific advisory board to oversee the company’s scientific initiatives. Members includes Harvard Medical School’s George Church and University of Washington’s Ed Lazowska.
Information in this article, originally published July 13, 2015, was corrected July 14, 2014. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the pricing of the Arivale service. It is $2,000 a year.