DeepPsy is a Swiss startup that was founded in 2021 with the goal of bringing technology developed by the psychiatric scientific community into the everyday routine of clinicians. Indeed, one of the main problems in psychiatric treatment is that, opposite to most other fields of medicine, treatment decisions are mainly based on information obtained at the symptomatic level, with little consideration for the biological mechanisms of individual patients. As a consequence, patients often go through a prolonged trial-and-error process in order to find an effective treatment.
DeepPsy wants to change that: By giving psychiatrists access to the newest technologies developed, tested, and validated by the scientific community, those can better identify the treatment with the highest likelihood of success in a specific patient. The organization’s flagship technologies are algorithms that analyze brain waves (EEG) and heart activity (ECG). Those are made available to clinics and hospitals through a user-friendly web interface. DeepPsy processes its patients’ electrophysiological data according to the latest evidence-based research findings in this field, resulting in the computation of different features derived from patients’ brainwaves and heart activity. These parameters can be interpreted on which treatment options might be best for a patient.
Further, DeepPsy collects the anonymized data from patients (with their permission) and trains its Deep Neural Networks to identify even better patterns for the prediction of treatment response. This guarantees that DeepPsy improves its service with every customer!
DeepPsy was co-founded by Mateo de Bardeci and PD. Dr. med. Sebastian Olbrich. Mateo studied physics and data science at the ETH Zurich. He started doing research in psychiatry back in 2019. As there are few data scientists working in psychiatry, he felt that his background and work would allow him to create a lot of value in the field. It was also in 2019 that Mateo met Sebastian at an entrepreneurship workshop. Sebastian is a trained psychiatrist and the Chief of the Center for Depression, Anxiety Disorders and Psychotherapy at the Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Zurich, Switzerland – one of the largest academic Psychiatry Hospitals in Europe. He has been conducting research on psychiatric biomarkers during the past 10 years, especially in the field of electrophysiology, with the goal of improving the treatment outcome in psychiatric disorders and thus decreasing the suffering of his patients. He told Mateo about his vision for the future of psychiatry, and both of them soon decided to work together to make it come true.
During his research days, Mateo quickly realized that there is a huge need for innovation in psychiatric treatment. Indeed, while technology has changed our day-to-day life completely, these changes have not arrived to psychiatry yet. Furthermore, Sebastian understood that many academic research findings never made their way into everyday clinical decisions either. Usually, physicians choose treatments based on very subjective information, not considering objective markers that could guide and improve their decisions for a specific drug or other types of interventions, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) or psychotherapy. Hence, both of them created the idea of DeepPsy to make the findings of biomarker research available for every psychiatrist and patient and to help to find the best individualized treatment. Now DeepPsy has a web-based framework that will help to improve treatment outcomes in major depression based on individual EEG and ECG data. This will shift the way in which psychiatric patients are treated and propulse psychiatry into the 21st century.
“Mental disorders are among the leading burden of disease worldwide. We, as a society, are building rockets to fly to mars and our cars will soon drive autonomously. Then why take psychiatric disorders such as depression as a predetermined fate? We have the knowledge to treat them based on objective information, and hence we should take this chance. DeepPsy is ready for the voyage.”
The firm’s goal for 2022 is to bring its first product to the Swiss and EU markets. In the coming years, the organization is planning to expand globally and increase its portfolio of solutions to include more mental illnesses and treatment options.
Data-Driven Solutions are Key
A major trend in the biotech industry is using data-driven solutions that have proven to be successful in other industries – especially the use of real-world data. These technologies have already proved to be a game-changer in oncology and imaging. DeepPsy is bringing it to psychiatry.
DeepPsy believes that personalized treatment should be a global standard instead of only a research project. The firm’s mission is to bring psychiatry to the 21st century.
DeepPsy wants to help as many patients as possible. Therefore, it wants its solutions to be fast, accessible, and low cost. Simultaneously, the organization has very high standards of quality, data security, privacy, and scientific validity. However, creating solutions that fulfill both aspects was a challenge for the company.