Funding / Health / Software / Startups

Why diagnostics tech company Group K rebranded to HueDx

The Center City-based rapid assay development platform has welcomed a new CEO, a new name and a new way to fundraise in 2023.

Brianna Wronko-Stevens. (Courtesy photo)

Meet HueDx: The Philly company formerly known as Group K Diagnostics went through a full rebrand earlier this year, including a new CEO, a new name and a new method of fundraising.

Brianna Wronko-Stevens started the rapid assay development platform in 2017 and served as CEO until earlier this year. The 10-person company brought in a new CEO in January, Dr. Mark A. Wingertzahn, who had served on HueDx’s scientific advisory board and invested in the company. Wronko-Stevens became the chief scientific officer and told the leadership change was to take the company to “the next level.”

A new name was also announced at the start of the year: “Group K” had been a placeholder, Wronko-Stevens said. She wanted a name that aligned better with the company’s product and better described what the company does, which is use color imaging to get diagnostic results.

“All we do every single day is look at different colors and say, ‘Do you see a difference in this color?’ And hue is one of the color spaces we work in,” she said.

The company also shifted from just developing tests on its platform, getting them FDA approved and selling them to consumers to also providing hardware and software products called the HueCard and the HueCloud. HueDx sells these products to other companies developing diagnostic tests, or assays.

“To allow them to put their assays on our card, we shorten the time it takes to develop everything from years to months,” Wronko-Stevens said, “because we’re allowing them to use software that’s already validated, technology and hardware that’s already had the kinks worked out. So they just need to work on the chemistry portion of it.”

A rectangle with different colored squares on is representing different diagnostic tests

HueDx’s HueCard. (Courtesy image)

HueCloud is a platform scientists and researchers can use to build their own assays. HueCard is a hardware and software platform those assays can be completed on.

“We wanted to get these diagnostic tests and capabilities to patients faster than we ourselves could develop one test at a time,” she said. “We launched the HueDx system, which is essentially a platform that enables people to use our software [HueCloud] and our hardware, the HueCard, to drop whatever assay of their choosing into the device and they can go through the process needed to their consumers or patients in parallel with the tests that we’re developing as well.”

To support these changes, HueDx’s leadership is also taking a new approach to fundraising, launching a crowdfunding campaign to support its work. The company — headquartered in University City in its early days, but now based out of a lab in a Jefferson Health building in Center City — pursued funding from traditional investors in the past, raising a $2 million Series A in 2018 and another $1 million in 2019.

Wronko-Stevens said the company plans to continue pursuing private strategic investors, but in addition to raising funds, this campaign is also to spread awareness for the company and the work it does: “If we’re going to give our technology to the world to start developing their own assays, then why don’t we partner with people it’s going to affect the most and let them have a piece of the pie in making this company a success?”

Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
Companies: HueDx

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