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Propel@YH Boot Camp helps US innovator Behavidence set up operations in Leeds

Posted: - 9th January 2023

Behavidence is an innovative HealthTech company developing machine learning based tools to detect and assist with remote monitoring and management of mental health conditions through passive digital biomarkers. Based in New York, the company was founded in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic by a neuroscientist, neuropsychologist, physician and bioengineer with the passion to improve the lives of millions suffering from psychiatric and neurological disorders.

The Behavidence AI understands a person’s mobile interactions to help generate a mental health score. The score is based on a digital behaviour comparison to other people diagnosed with ADHD, depression or anxiety. The company now offers multiple digital phenotyping models that can predict these disorders, and much more. These digital phenotyping solutions have been adopted by health organisations, tech, commercial and government entities. The Behavidence products can be used as a measurement-based outcome to monitor depression, anxiety, ADHD, postpartum depression, employee / healthcare staff burnout, stress, predict relapse of conditions, screening and remote monitoring for clinical interventions and comorbid conditions.

Behavidence was one of five US-based SMEs who were selected for Yorkshire & Humber AHSN’s Propel@YH Boot Camp accelerator in 2022. With support from the Department of International Trade, the programme helps companies to engage with UK healthcare experts to bring their technology to the UK market, and ultimately to support innovators in establishing themselves in Yorkshire.

Why the UK?

Behavidence is ambitious about changing the world of psychiatry with the aim to make it more accessible to patients. One key factor that drew the company to the UK is the health system is much more focused on providing patients with access to psychological therapies as part of a stepped-care model for treating common mental health disorders. The UK’s unique combination of academic and healthcare resources, supported by the AHSN Network, has also been valuable in helping the company to drive and scale its impact.

Participation in the Propel@YH boot camp

In 2022, the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN launched the first-ever Propel@YH international boot camp accelerator, supported by the Department of International Trade, Barclays Eagle Labs, Nexus and the University of Leeds, Hill Dickinson, and Leeds City Council.

The week-long intensive programme aims to support US-based innovators who want to bring their products to the UK healthcare market. Behavidence was amongst the five successful US-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) selected to take part in the programme.

Along with other participants, the programme provided the company with five days of intensive support through a range of masterclasses, workshops and networking events, helping to develop their understanding of NHS government, finance and procurement frameworks, and clinical safety and supplier regulations. The programme also introduced them to key NHS stakeholders, connecting them with the right support to evaluate the value of their technology and suitability for the UK market.

Impacts and outcomes

The @PropelYH international boot camp and support from the AHSN has been instrumental in brokering the relationships and introductions necessary to support the adoption and launch of Behavidence in the UK.

In addition to helping the company to understand the unique needs of the NHS and navigation of the market, the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN team also provide the company with access to NHS trusts across the region to help with real world evaluation as well as signposting to partners. This support has been key to help with the adoption and spread of their innovation, as well as to support the company to find the right assistance, generate investment and enable its growth.

Behavidence has since partnered with a number of trusts in the North of England, including the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership, to help test and evaluate their technology in local systems.

Through support from the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, the company has also successfully registered their first subsidiary in the UK, setting up an office in Leeds. The company has additionally partnered with Thrive by Design, a multidisciplinary team hosted by Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust whose mission is to co-design inclusive digital innovation and improvement in health and care to support everyone to thrive.

What next?

Behavidence have successfully set up an office in the vibrant Nexus community, based on the University of Leeds campus. They now plan to expand their UK team to support their growth across the country and beyond.

They also seek to use their success in the UK to extend the benefits of their technology to more patients worldwide.

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The Propel programme was a definitive shift of focus. As a US-based company, we didn’t know that much about the NHS and the UK health system. The programme provided a soft landing, helping us to understand the different components and opportunities of the UK health system. We also got a lot of introductions to NHS trusts to help with real-world evaluation of our technology. Another life-changing event was that we’d originally planned to set up in London, but the programme helped us to seek out other opportunities and helped us to realised there’s a lot to do and even more opportunities in the North of England, rather than taking the classic route of settling in London.

Roy Cohen , Co-founder and CEO of Behavidence

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