Leuven (Belgium) – September 27, 2018 – miDiagnostics, a Belgian start-up that develops diagnostic solutions for near-patient testing, announces that it has received €1.7 million grant support from VLAIO, the Flemish agency for innovation and entrepreneurship. The funds will be used to investigate and develop an inexpensive disposable test card with an integrated silicon chip for its first application, a complete blood count.
miDiagnostics is developing breakthrough technology for rapid, high-quality and inexpensive diagnostic testing to address medical questions without the need to rely on a complex laboratory infrastructure. Its core technology is based on a silicon chip that executes different operations at the microscale, similar to a microprocessor inside a smartphone. But instead of dealing with electrons, miDiagnostics precisely controls fluids inside its silicon chip without the need for external fluid actuation. This allows to accurately detect cells, proteins, nucleic acids (DNA/RNA), and small molecules. The silicon chip is integrated into a disposable test card onto which a minimally invasive sample, such as a drop of blood, is deposited. The test card, about the size of a bank card, is inserted into a reader to collect the data. Therefore, miDiagnostics’ ambition is to offer solutions for a variety of medical conditions that go beyond what is currently available as point-of-care testing. Lab-quality results will be available during the direct patient-physician interaction.
The lead product in miDiagnostics’ pipeline is a complete blood count (CBC) that gives the physician or other healthcare professional information about the most important blood cell parameters. In addition to the silicon chip, the CBC product makes use of a new lens-free imaging technology to characterize and count blood cells. Lens-free imaging is a miniaturized microscopy technique that does not require expensive lenses, making it ideally suited for a compact CBC solution. The recorded images are automatically processed through artificial inetelligence.
The PRECISE project funded by VLAIO aims, over a period of 18 months, to research solutions that enable the robust integration of the silicon chip with a lower-cost plastic microfluidic backbone. Leander Van Neste, Vice President Scientific and Clinical Affairs at miDiagnostics, commented:“We are very grateful for this VLAIO grant, which will allow us to further explore the full potential of our silicon-based technology. This research will advance miDiagnostics in the development of an affordable and easy-to-use near-patient CBC solution that generates lab-quality results within the scope of the interaction between a patient and the treating physician, regardless of place and time.”
Nicolas Vergauwe, CEO of miDiagnostics, further added:“Developing a novel diagnostic platform that aims to improve patients’ lives around the world requires investors who believe in our daring journey, but also supportive governmental programs that help start-ups to fulfill their aspirations and vision. This VLAIO grant validates our approach to translate a radical new diagnostic concept and technology into products of high commercial and clinical value.”
miDiagnostics, founded in 2015, originated as an innovative collaboration between imec (Leuven, België) and The Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA). It is further backed by serial entrepreneurs Marc Coucke and Michel Akkermans, and the Flemish investment firm PMV. Its first product will be a complete blood count, which the company believes to be the world’s first truly portable automated cell counter for near-patient testing that offers lab-quality results. The company plans a series B investment round in the course of next year.
Bo Nys, Business Support Officer
Tel: +32 494 59 69 41