Why We Invested: Isaac Health
January 25, 2024
Dementia care is currently one of the most supply-constrained areas in the US healthcare system, with one in three people expected to experience a form of dementia in their lifetime, yet only one dementia specialist available for every one million people in the US. The need for a comprehensive, technology-based brain health solution has never been more apparent. This is why we are excited to announce our investment in Isaac Health, a virtual memory clinic using a smart platform to address the severe shortage of dementia specialists, deliver higher quality patient care, and reduce medical costs.
Today, over 61% of dementia cases are undiagnosed, and the average wait time for dementia diagnosis and treatment has increased substantially over the years, now exceeding 18 months. Compounding these issues is an aging population in the US, and limited tool sets available for the detection of dementia, frequently leading to the late diagnosis or misdiagnosis of the disease. In many cases, the result is significant cost increases due to emergency department visits or issues in care facilities. In 2023, Alzheimer’s and other dementias cost the US an estimated $345B. Total payments for health care, long-term care, and hospice care for people living with dementia are projected to increase to nearly $1T by 2050. It’s a complicated, expensive situation and patients suffer.
In 2023, we met two incredible founders, Dr. Julius Bruch and Dr. Joel Salinas, taking on the challenge of building an end-to-end, technology-forward solution for the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of dementia and other brain health conditions, with impressive early traction among Medicare Advantage plans and Accountable Care Organizations. Dr. Bruch previously served as a leader in McKinsey’s healthcare practice, focused on value-based care and digital health. He is also a Cambridge-trained medical doctor and former researcher in neurodegenerative disease. During his work in rolling out value-based payment programs and digital health strategies across payers throughout the pandemic, he sought to apply his skillset to solve the growing gap in dementia care. He teamed up with Dr. Salinas, a widely recognized, leading behavioral neurologist in the US (one of only ~370 across the country) from NYU Langone’s Memory Center and who was previously Clinical Director of the Center for Brain Health at Massachusetts General Hospital, with 20+ years of clinical experience in dementia diagnosis and treatment. Together, they formed Isaac Health and set about tackling the brain health problem.
The platform’s initial solution enables the screening of entire patient populations and automated identification of dementia cases via predictive machine learning. It also allows non-specialized physicians to upskill and deliver specialized neurologist-level care, covering the end-to-end spectrum of brain health, from screening and diagnosis, to treatment and care management. The long-term vision of the company is to serve as the nation’s platform for brain health.
Recently, large government incentives have emerged encouraging payers / health plans to adopt dementia treatment efficiencies. Additionally, new dementia drug treatments were recently approved by the FDA requiring specialist-level oversight (e.g. Leqembi approved in 2023). These market drivers, combined with shifting payer and system priorities (dementia as among the top drivers of cost increases according to payers / health systems) create substantial changes in the way brain health conditions will be managed, and significant tailwinds for Isaac Health’s solution.
Drs. Bruch and Salinas called their concept Isaac Health as an homage to Sir Isaac Newton (one of the most influential brains in human history) and the longest-lived Biblical figure Isaac (who lived to 180 years old), as well as the underlying meaning of the name “Isaac,” which means “one who laughs or rejoices.” The company’s name represents what it hopes to achieve for the people it serves through its mission of promoting and preserving brain health: a long, fulfilling life with many moments of genius and joy.
At B Capital, we seek to invest in companies with the potential to define categories, led by exceptional management teams with asymmetric advantages. Within the digital health space, we support impactful new care models operating at the convergence of tech, financial incentives, and patient outcomes. We believe Isaac Health embodies these principles and is making significant strides in solving one of the most pressing problems in healthcare today. We are excited to support the Isaac Health team in their journey of building a transformative platform for brain health.
 Alzheimer’s Association – https://www.alz.org/media/documents/alzheimers-facts-and-figures.pdf
 National Institutes of Health – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5293981
 Alzheimer’s Association – https://www.alz.org/media/Documents/alzheimers-facts-and-figures-special-report.pdf
 Alzheimer’s Association – https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/facts-figures
 FDA – https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-grants-accelerated-approval-alzheimers-disease-treatment