Seventh Sense Biosystems Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of technology for decentralized diagnostic testing, has sealed a $3.28 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Formed in 2008, the company is backed by investors including Flagship Ventures, Polaris Venture Partners and Third Rock Ventures.
Seventh Sense Biosystems, Inc., a company developing novel blood sampling technology for decentralized diagnostic testing, announced today that it has been awarded a $3.28 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant is part of the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative to seek out innovative ideas for diagnostics in the developing world. Seventh Sense’s proprietary Touch Activated Phlebotomy™ (TAP) technology platform is one of more than twenty Grand Challenges point-of-care diagnostics grants announced today. This Grand Challenges program aims to create technologies and components that can enhance assessment of conditions and pathogens at the point-of-care in a variety of settings.
“Our hope is that these bold ideas lead to affordable, easy-to-use tools that can rapidly diagnose diseases and trigger timelier treatment in resource-poor communities.”
“We are delighted to be part of this significant initiative to improve healthcare in developing countries. The support of the Gates Foundation underscores the potential of the Seventh Sense approach and enables us to expand our TAP technology to aid in the delivery of better diagnoses in resource-poor areas of the world,” said Doug Levinson, Ph.D., President, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Seventh Sense Biosystems, and Partner at Flagship Ventures. “Diagnostic testing is essential for most medical decision-making and, in most cases, requires access to high quality blood samples. Our TAP technology facilitates better care by painlessly, safely and conveniently eliminating conventional barriers to blood collection, which could help facilitate access to diagnostic testing to virtually anyone, anywhere in the world.”
“New and improved diagnostics to use at the point-of-care can help health workers around the world save countless lives,” said Chris Wilson, Director of Global Health Discovery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Our hope is that these bold ideas lead to affordable, easy-to-use tools that can rapidly diagnose diseases and trigger timelier treatment in resource-poor communities.”
Seventh Sense will use the grant funds to develop enhanced TAP prototypes that can collect higher volume blood samples required for a broad range of field-based diagnostic testing. Funds will be received over a three-year period, during which Seventh Sense intends to optimize design, develop manufacturing methods and integrate all components into a simple device that can be used with a broad spectrum of point-of-care diagnostic devices in the developing world. The new product is envisioned as a cost-effective, universal blood sampling platform, requiring no external power source or technical expertise to operate.
About Grand Challenges in Global Health
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recognizes that solving our greatest global health issues is a long-term effort. Through Grand Challenges in Global Health, the Foundation is committed to seeking out and rewarding not only established researchers in science and technology, but also young investigators, entrepreneurs and innovators to help expand the pipeline of ideas to fight diseases that claim millions of lives each year. We anticipate that additional grants will be awarded through the Grand Challenges program in the future.
About Touch Activated Phlebotomy™
Seventh Sense Biosystems’ proprietary Touch Activated Phlebotomy (TAP) technology platform enables single-step blood collection in a painless, safe and convenient manner. The TAP technology was recognized by The Edison Awards™ in 2011 for its innovation, creativity and ingenuity, receiving the Gold Medal Award in the Science and Medicine – Diagnostic Aids Segment. The TAP system penetrates the uppermost layers of skin and uses a proprietary microfluidic extraction process to transfer blood to a collection reservoir for sampling and analysis. TAP’s unique and intuitive design can be integrated into a broad range of products across a wide spectrum of diagnostic applications. Future platforms in development include a disposable, fully integrated sample and test system, which helps avoid both handling and contamination risks associated with typical sample transfers, as well as a device that can be directly interfaced with handheld or benchtop instruments.
About Seventh Sense Biosystems, Inc.
The mission of Seventh Sense Biosystems is to improve the quality, convenience and cost-effectiveness of medical care through painless, simplified blood collection. The company’s proprietary Touch Activated Phlebotomy™ (TAP) technology platform is being developed to eliminate the discomfort, inconvenience, and expert intervention associated with traditional blood sampling. Drawn through a painless, one-step process by anyone, anywhere, anytime, blood samples collected with TAP can be utilized across a broad spectrum of diagnostic applications. TAP’s universal, scalable design holds the potential to not only expand the reach and effectiveness of blood collection to hard-to-sample populations, but also to improve the safety and ease of collection for all patients, thereby enabling better diagnostics. Founded in 2008, Seventh Sense Biosystems is backed by top-tier investors including Flagship Ventures, Polaris Venture Partners and Third Rock Ventures.