Point-of-care and self-testing diagnostics company Senzo has been working on a product now ubiquitous in most homes today — an at-home COVID-19 test.
The startup got good news last month when it received 100% accuracy ratings for its Amplified Lateral Flow (ALF) COVID-19 test in a blind study led by a research team at the University of Sheffield. And this month it has another announcement: Company leaders said they raised $2 million in equity funding in a round led by Radnor-based firm BioAdvance with participation from Wellness Coaches, a national provider of health and wellness solutions.
The funding will go toward bringing Senzo’s ALF COVID-19 test through regulatory approval and to market, the company said. It will also boost its manufacturing capacity, and advance the development of a range of new at-home tests for the likes of influenza, HIV, tuberculosis, strep, hepatitis C, and STIs.
“We invest in promising life science companies that have technologies with the potential to significantly improve human health,” said Dr. Gregory Harriman, partner at BioAdvance, in a statement. “Senzo’s technology offers to fundamentally advance early diagnosis and intervention for important diseases.”
The nearly 20-person Senzo team, which lists offices in Bucks County’s Newtown and London, is aiming to build an at-home rapid test that produces results as accurate as a lab-tested PCR test. Senzo’s ALF antigen test showed results in 10 minutes and received 100% accuracy on 25 positive and 25 negative tests, the Sheffield study found, and picked up positive test results on PCR Ct values in the range of 30 to 38 (a range indicating low viral load, often very early in infection).
“If you test positive on PCR, you’ll test positive on our test,” CEO Jeremy Stackawitz said.
Stackawitz, who joined the startup in October 2021, told Technical.ly last month that people rely on at-home tests to go about their daily lives right now, but many at-home options don’t pick up low viral loads, which are common at the start of an infection or as symptoms are setting in.
The CEO said in June he was hopeful the tests will hit the market later this year, as people continually rely on at-home options to mitigate risk of the virus, like when they travel and participate in in-person events.
“Our vision at Senzo is clear: to make the diagnosis of disease as fast, simple, inexpensive, and accurate as taking a temperature or blood pressure reading,” Stackawitz said in a statement. “The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the potential for accurate point-of-care diagnostics. Our ALF technology converts that potential to reality in myriad applications where more and earlier diagnosis results in better patient outcomes, and more timely and cost-effective patient care.”
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