Health Care

Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst fund Hippocratic AI

Hippocratic AI is the latest entrant in the generative artificial intelligence market as the new company launched Tuesday morning with $50 million in seed funding.

Venture capital firms General Catalyst and Andreessen Horowitz are backing Hippocratic AI, which will build an industry-specific large language generative AI model for healthcare. Generative AI large language models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT can converse with humans, summarize articles and write copy.  

The Palo Alto, California-based Hippocratic AI will initially look to finalize development of its large language model, said Munjal Shah, co-founder and CEO of Hippocratic AI. The company is focused on using this model for non-diagnostic, patient-facing applications but is still figuring out specific use cases that it will market to health systems. 

While few companies without clear proofs of concept have able to secure such a large initial investment from established venture capital firms, Shah said companies developing large language models are an exception to this rule. 

“Language models are a capital intensive business and people recognize the potential,” Shah said. “We are in a little different position. And so we’re going to be able to invest, build just a great product and then figure out [go to market].”

The round is twice as large as the average deal through the first three months of the year, according to Rock Health, a research and digital health venture firm. While overall funding levels generally have gone down in a tough economy, interest in AI investments has persisted.  Vendors are rushing to sell their solutions and capture market share.

In April, Microsoft announced that OpenAI’s GPT-4 model would come to Epic’s electronic health record. The initial use cases will focus on patient communication and data visualization. The tech giant’s subsidiary Nuance Communications, a clinical documentation software company, is separately integrating GPT-4 capabilities into the EHR. In this case, it will be used to summarize and enter conversations between clinicians and patients directly into the EHR. 

Shah said Hippocratic AI can provide an alternate for health systems that don’t want to work with a big tech firm. 

“I will tell you, [a] number of [hospital executives] I’ve talked to [say], ‘We want a solution independent of big tech,’” Shah said. 

Shah said Hippocractic AI will focus on building a model that was specialized for healthcare. Its model has been trained to pass a number of medical certification tests ranging from the North American Pharmacist Licensure examination to the Certified Professional Compliance Officer test. It also is capturing information on bedside manner. 

“How you say things to patients is as important as what you say,” Shah said. “Honestly, even the billing person should be way more sensitive.”

Prior to this role, Shah was the founder and CEO of precision medicine company Health IQ. He co-founded Hippocractic AI alongside chief medical officer Dr. Meenesh Bhimani.

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