To help build its “lab in a hand” tech, Gaithersburg, Maryland’s Hememics Biotech just raised a $2 million seed round.
Maryland’s TEDCO led the Seed 2 round, though a company statement said that other existing investors and a strategic investor also took part. Hememics, founded in 2007, developed a handheld, multiplexed sensor platform for simultaneously testing antibodies, antigens and more in a blood test. The nine-person company was founded by CEO John Warden, a fintech and drug development alum, and chief scientific officer David Ho, a blood platelets expert.
Warden said the company’s sensor technology is more sensitive than existing point-of-care tools. The company’s early entry into the market, which it’s returning to, was in veterinarian health for livestock, although it also did a lot of work on COVID-19 during the height of the pandemic. Working with livestock is particularly useful, he said, because Hememics can rapidly develop extensive panels and detect multiple diseases.
“We’re able to achieve higher accuracy out in the field and also, more economically, detect a whole panel of illnesses,” Warden said. “In some markets, the economics are very compelling for being able to detect lots of things at the same time.”
The Hememics device is a biochip reader with 32 graphene-based sensors and bio-preservatives. A large portion of results are available in under five minutes with the option to be uploaded to a data center with a cell phone.
According to Warden, the company has raised $7.5 million in seed funding since its inception. Previous investors include McLean, Virginia’s AMVI partners and high-net-worth foreign backers. With this raise, Warden said the company plans early entry into the market, a refinement of its tools and rapid hiring by the end of the year.
Adding these funds, he said, is “confirmation of our good” work, and he hopes that the company can specifically work on manufacturing techniques as it scales up and addresses demand.
“We see biosensors, especially ones based on graphene, making a big impact in the diagnostics market,” Warden said. “It achieves sensitivity, cost and the ability to detect many targets simultaneously in a way that other technologies cannot.”
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