Prudential Asia, a unit of Prudential plc, recently made a licensing deal with Babylon Health, a digital health startup.
The deal involves the exclusive usage of the startup’s AI-driven software for Prudential Asia’s applications, which are spread out all over 12 nations in Asia. Sources well-conversant with the transaction revealed that Prudential would pay an estimated $100 million in a bid to use the proprietary software for several years.
Babylon Health’s software comprises of simulation software, inference software as well as a medical-knowledge graph that is meant for automating and replicating consultations with human physicians. Spokespersons for both Prudential Asia and Babylon Health refused to disclose information about the transaction pricing.
Babylon Health is popular for offering a virtual-doctor service in the United Kingdom, where over 26,000 NHS patients in London can get doctor appointments through video calls. On the other hand, thousands more patients utilize the startup’s private service for $80 per year.
Instead of providing remote physicians to Prudential, Babylon will provide the software that drives the medical chatbot on its application. The bot helps in reassuring clients to eliminate the need to see an actual doctor, which is costly for Babylon. It also aids in arming them with better information regarding their illness before they consult a doctor.
The recent deal between Prudential Asia and Babylon is a little similar to that of Babylon with Samsung, which was made public early in 2018. In this deal, Babylon provided access to its network of virtual doctors and health advice.
In the latest transaction, Babylon’s software is expected to be incorporated into at least a single application that Prudential aims to launch in Asia before the close of 2018.
Ali Parsa, the CEO and founder of Babylon said that the software licensing deal would include the chatbot coupled with an AI-driven simulation feature and wider health evaluation that Babylon’s experts are still creating.
What’s more, the application users will be required to respond to a series of over 50 questions in a bid to create a health graph after which the app will provide probabilities for contracting various illnesses while also giving a grade on the mental health of a user.
Among the main reasons that Prudential Asia is spending considerably on such cutting-edge software is to lure additional health-insurance clients.
In fact, Prudential Asia’s CEO Nic Nicandrou asserted that the company’s yet to be released mobile application, which is anticipated to use Babylon Health’s health assessment software, would be provided to individuals who are not customers. In turn, the company expects that such an effort will encourage then to purchase an insurance policy.
Nicandrou is looking forward to Babylon Health’s software assisting in the prevention of health problems amongst its existing customers. He emphasized his statement by stating that when a disease is diagnosed earlier, the treatment cost drops.
As such, Nicandrou added that such an undertaking might also help in minimizing the money Prudential spends on paying out claims.
UK-Based Babylon Health is similar to many other technology companies that are helping to disrupt the legacy industries. However, it is the amount of freedom the nation’s regulators will allow the startup’s software in future is still uncertain.