Butterfly Network Inks Deal To Provide Portable Ultrasound Devices To Medical University Of South Carolina

Butterfly Network announced Tuesday that it has signed a deal with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) to provide its point-of-care ultrasound devices and software to the organization, which includes its medical school, research facilities and 14 hospitals.

“Together with MUSC, we’re thrilled to explore how Butterfly can enhance patient care, advance medical education, and model a new standard of care delivery for the next generation of clinicians and care teams,” Butterfly CEO Todd Fruchterman said in a statement.

The Connecticut-based company has developed a portable ultrasound device, Butterfly iQ, that can fit in your pocket. The scanning device contains over 9,000 imaging elements on a chip that can be individually controlled by plugging it into a smartphone or tablet to display the image. The company’s software helps nurses and doctors interpret the image, and also helps integrate it into patients’ electronic health records, streamlining the paperwork. The device is priced at $2,399 plus a subscription to the software. It’s also a time saver, since images can be taken right away rather than having to schedule an imaging appointment.

“Now you’ve got that powerful information right at the time you see your patient,” explains Dr. John Martin, Butterfly’s chief medical officer.

Patrick Cawley, CEO of MUSC and a physician himself, is enthusiastic about the possibilities of Butterfly’s device. “This completely changes things, from the price to how you use the technology. The pictures themselves are almost more intuitive, you can get trained on this relatively quickly and it all works with an electronic health record,” he says. “And I like to say that this is going to replace the stethoscope.”

Butterfly was founded in 2014 by healthcare entrepreneur Jonathan Rothberg and Nevada Sanchez, who was selected for the Forbes 30 Under 30 Healthcare list in 2015. Its handheld ultrasound device, the Butterfly iQ, received its first FDA clearance in 2017. In February 2021, the company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange via a SPAC deal with Longview Acquisition Corp that valued the company at $1.5 billion.

Since going public, though, the stock has lost quite a bit of value, closing Monday at a price of $3.04 with a market capitalization of $605 million. The company posted revenues of $62.6 million in 2021, a 35.3% increase from the year prior. In the first quarter of this year, Butterfly reported revenues of $15.6 million, a 25.2% year over year increase. Those revenue numbers, said analysts from Cowen earlier this month, suggest that Butterfly “has not been rewarded for its top-tier growth trajectory.” That report suggested a target price of $7.00 for the stock.

The company has announced several collaborations in the first half of this year so far. In January, the company announced a deal with the University of Rochester Medical Center to deploy its ultrasound devices across that enterprise. In March, the company received a $5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to further develop its fetal and maternal health software and to provide a thousand of its devices to healthcare workers in South Africa and Kenya. Earlier this month, Butterfly also announced a collaboration with Petco to provide a veterinary version of its device to its nearly 200 veterinary hospitals.

At MUSC, Butterfly’s devices will first be rolled out to clinicians and practitioners at MUSC’s University Medical Center in Charleston, its Marion Medical Center and its Florence Medical Center. From there MUSC intends to incorporate point-of-care ultrasound use in its training, and it will be added to the organization’s curriculum. The organization also plans to explore clinical research opportunities for Butterfly’s devices.

“From a health system perspective, it really is a game changer,” says Cawley.

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