Health Technology Firm that Began on Campus Wins ‘Buzz of Bio’ Poll

Akshaya Shanmugam
Akshaya Shanmugam
Abhinav Parate
Abhinav Parate

Lumme, an Amherst-based company led by two recent UMass Amherst doctoral recipients, has won the 2019 Buzz of BIO online poll among early-stage biotechnology firms in the category “diagnostic and beyond.”

Lumme is developing an addiction treatment platform that targets smoking, alcohol, diet and other harmful behaviors. The platform combines wearable technology, machine learning and behavioral psychology.

The company will be recognized at the 2019 BIO CEO & Investor Conference Feb. 11-12 in New York City.

Abhinav Parate developed the concept of Lumme while completing his computer science graduate project with professor Deepak Ganesan. Akshaya Shanmugam joined in after completing her doctorate in electrical and computer systems engineering in 2016.

Now CEO of Lumme, Shanmugam was recognized in 2017 on Forbes’s list of 30 under 30 for health care. Parate, who earned his doctorate in 2014, is Lumme’s chief technology officer. Ganesan is president.

The company is currently conducting extensive clinical trials in collaboration with the Yale Medical School.

Lumme says its platform is designed to act like a therapist in your pocket, offering the right help at the right time. It uses sensors on a smartphone and a smartwatch to detect, predict and prevent behavior that affects your health.

For example: It automatically monitors your hand gestures to detect when you eat, smoke, drink or exercise; it provides contextual information associated with each activity and warns when you are most likely to overeat, smoke or indulge in other unhealthy behaviors; and it delivers clinically validated personalized interventions to your phone to help with your craving.

Lumme is funded by multiple Small Business Innovation Research grants from the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

The Buzz of BIO contest gives early-stage companies an opportunity to make the connections needed to take their product to the next phase. Ten innovative biotechs based in the U.S. were nominated in each of three categories: public therapeutic biotech, private therapeutic biotech and diagnostics and beyond. The winner in each category gets a complimentary conference registration and company presentation, along with exposure to thousands of industry elites and potential investors.

The online voting took place in early December.