Whole-Body Scanning’s Star Power

The proactive whole-body scanning segment gained even more celebrity-driven momentum last week with the launch of Neko Health, a Sweden-based startup cofounded by Spotify CEO Daniel Ek.

Neko Health launches with the goal of improving early disease detection, thus allowing physicians to focus on preventive care, and reducing late detection’s social and economic impact.

  • The $190 exams combine a 360-degree body scan, cardiovascular scans, sensors, and blood tests to collect 50M data points (“skin, heart, vessels, respiration, microcirculation and more”) that are analyzed with AI to assess patients’ unique risks. 

Neko Health’s cardiovascular exam includes cardiac ultrasound (among other technologies), but its other scanners are based on “cameras, lasers, and radars,” and aren’t the type of modalities that most of you associate with whole-body scanning (no MRI or CT).

  • That said, Neko’s launch prompted the same type of radiologist backlash that we typically see when new whole-body imaging companies emerge, and Neko’s exams could still lead to the cascade of follow-ups that radiologists are concerned about.

Unfortunately for those concerned radiologists, the general public pays much more attention to the rich and famous than what folks are upset about on RadTwitter, and it seems that elites love proactive whole-body exams… 

  • Spotify’s Daniel Ek co-founded Neko (in case you missed that part)
  • Whole-body MRI startup Prenuvo is backed by some A-list investors (Apple’s Tony Fadell, Google’s Eric Schmidt, supermodel Cindy Crawford)
  • AI-driven proactive MRI company Ezra’s investor list is full of execs and entrepreneurs, rather than the VCs that imaging startups typically rely on
  • Whole-body scans have also been endorsed by some very influential celebrities (Oprah, Kim Kardashian, Chamath Palihapitiya, Paris Hilton, Kevin Rose)

Outside of the excellent celebrity endorsement work that Hologic has done for breast cancer screening, we don’t see that type of star power in traditional areas of medical imaging. 

The Takeaway

Neko Health largely steers clear of radiology’s turf from a modality perspective, but whole-body scanning’s recent influx of funding, innovations, and celebrity-driven awareness seem very relevant to radiology.

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