CARI Health secures SBIR fast track grant for wearable medication monitor development


Digital health startup, CARI Health, has secured a potentially game-changing SBIR Fast Track grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The grant, offered by an agency of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), opens the door for CARI Health to bring the world’s premier wearable medication monitor to market. As the project progresses through Phase I and Phase II, the startup stands to receive up to $2.8M over a span of three years.

Over the years, CARI Health’s innovation-driven approach has attracted notable investments. Entities like the San Diego Angel Conference (SDAC), NuFund Venture Group, Cove Fund, and several other reputed funds and individual angel investors have shown their support. Adding to this list, both the Cedars Sinai Accelerator and the Rady Venture Fund (UCSD) have recently pitched in with investments.

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Addressing the urgency of the opioid crisis, CARI Health Founder and CEO, Patrik Schmidle, mentioned, “As the national opioid crisis intensifies, especially with the alarming rise in illicit fentanyl use, there’s a desperate need for groundbreaking solutions. Our wearable remote monitoring offers a patient-friendly approach to demonstrate methadone treatment compliance from a distance. Currently, patients often need to make frequent clinic visits, especially early in their methadone treatment. This, in itself, is a significant deterrent to initiating and sticking with the treatment.”

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Schmidle’s deep personal connection to the issue, stemming from a family member’s battle with opioid use disorder, was a catalyst for the inception of CARI Health.

Participating in elite programs, CARI Health has gained invaluable insights from global leaders. Programs like the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur MedTech Accelerator at UC San Diego and the Cedars Sinai Accelerator have offered unparalleled mentorship. The company’s efforts were recognized when it was named one of Connect San Diego’s 2022 Cool Companies, an accolade it clinched again in 2023. Moreover, its association with EvoNexus, which boasts a mere 2% admittance rate, further amplifies its credibility.

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Emphasizing the significance of the NIDA grant, Schmidle stated, “This grant will be pivotal in our product development journey. As we make strides in our mission, this funding will also be instrumental in facilitating human trials once our product is primed for deployment.”

With CARI Health’s relentless focus and the backing of the NIDA grant, the future looks promising for their innovative wearable medication monitoring device, potentially revolutionizing treatment compliance in the opioid crisis.

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