Digital health startup once valued at $1.5B on verge of collapse

Proteus Digital Health, a startup developing tech-based medication adherence solutions which has raised more than $500 million since its 2004 founding, is now struggling to stay afloat, sources close to the situation told CNBC.

Just three years after investors valued the company at $1.5 billion, Proteus was recently unable to close an expected $100 million funding round. To save money, the startup furloughed most of its employees in November, the sources said; the company was reportedly able to secure $5 million in emergency funding during that time, allowing employees to return to work after about two weeks.

"Proteus is currently conducting an operational review and restructuring our business to optimize effectiveness," a spokesperson told CNBC in an emailed statement. "We are taking into consideration the impact of our restructuring on employees, patients, customers, partners and investors."

Since its founding, Proteus has received more than 540 patents for its "Digital Medicine," comprising sensor-embedded drugs, wearable technology, mobile applications and data analytics to track medication management and adherence. The company has partnered with pharmaceutical giants like Novartis and Otsuka, and as recently as October 2019 was included on lists of the healthcare startups with the greatest potential to transform the industry.

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