LetsGetChecked, an organization that develops at-home health-testing kits protecting numerous situations, has raised $71 Million in an “oversubscribed” sequence C spherical of funding to speed up the manufacturing and provide capability for a brand new COVID-19 testing package.
The increase suits right into a broader telehealth development, that has seen quite a few startups increase sizable sums for applied sciences that allow professionals to manage well being care companies remotely. In the case of LetsGetChecked, it’s now well-financed to push forward with plans to reinforce screening and testing capacity for a pandemic that has impacted billions of individuals globally.
Founded in 2015, LetsGetChecked — which has workplaces in Dublin and New York City — already gives an array of home-based testing kits, protecting sexual well being, diabetes, most cancers screening, vitamin deficiencies, and extra. But again in March, the corporate announced a brand new two-part coronavirus check aimed initially at frontline staff — the primary half constitutes a fast blood check that detects the presence (or absence) of antibodies produced by the physique to struggle off COVID-19 after signs first seem. While this check does give an instantaneous outcome, a secondary lab-based check based mostly on nasal swabs ratifies the preliminary outcomes a few days later.
“If you have had COVID-19 symptoms for a few days, or if your symptoms have already resolved, the antibody test can help determine whether these symptoms are or were related to SARS-CoV-2 infection,” LetsGetChecked CEO Peter Foley informed VentureBeat. “In the context of screening, the antibody test gives an immediate indication for someone with symptoms that they are likely related to coronavirus. The confirmatory swab test determines that someone is currently infected with the virus or not, and therefore whether they might be capable of passing the virus to someone else.”
Above: LetsGetChecked CEO Peter Foley
For most of its historical past, LetsGetChecked has labored with a community of CLIA-certified labs in the united statesand internationally, however earlier this 12 months the corporate launched its personal lab in California, devoted solely to analyzing outcomes produced by its vary of home-test well being kits — and the timing turned out to be moderately fortuitous. “When COVID-19 broke we were well positioned to bring a solution to market and to help with much needed testing,” Foley mentioned.
Ultimately, LetsGetChecked’s large promise is to assist “relieve pressure on over-stretched hospital screening services” by way of offering extra testing capability. However, whereas it sells most of its different well being assessments to anybody to make use of themselves at residence, the two-part COVID-19 assessments are at the moment being administered by well being care professionals solely, who can conduct the assessments in sufferers’ properties and different areas akin to hospitals and nursing properties. But the corporate is at the moment working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to realize approval for an emergency use utility (EUA) that might permit prospects to purchase kits on-line for residence use.
Above: LetsGetChecked’s COVID-19 testing package
Above: LetsGetChecked’s COVID-19 testing package: What’s within the field
Unlike the healthcare skilled kits which can be found now, the direct-to-consumer package, if accredited, will solely include the nasal swab a part of the check. In phrases of prices, it is going to set people again $129, which incorporates all the pieces — specific return delivery, lab evaluation, doctor overview, nursing help, and entry to a devoted cellular app the place sufferers can entry their outcomes on-line.
At the check’s preliminary launch in March, LetsGetTested dedicated to finishing up 250,000 assessments by way of its first batch of kits, with plans to scale the service to greater than 1 million of essentially the most at-risk sufferers within the coming months. When requested by VentureBeat, the corporate wouldn’t verify what number of COVID-19 assessments that it has performed to this point.
“With the onset of COVID-19, we realigned resources with a view to helping with this global pandemic and are currently delivering tens of thousands of tests per day to critical and frontline healthcare workers,” Foley mentioned. “We are working hard to deliver COVID-19 testing into the home and hope to have an answer soon.”
LetsGetChecked had beforehand raised $42 million, together with a $30 million tranche raised lower than a 12 months in the past, and its newest money injection — which was co-led by Illumina Ventures and HLM Venture Partners — is indicative of the worldwide urgency to provide scalable assessments to curb the unfold of COVID-19. The firm mentioned that it might additionally use its new capital to “scale-up activity” at its Californian lab, and develop its operations within the U.S. and Europe.
Other gamers within the home-testing realm embody Austin, Texas-based Everlywell, which closed a $50 million spherical of funding final 12 months. Everlywell introduced an at-home COVID-19 testing kit back in March, nevertheless the corporate is seemingly now only offering the package to “qualifying organizations.”
In the broader telehealth sphere, Tyto Care final month raised $50 million to develop its distant examination and diagnostic platform, which features a well being package that anybody can use at residence to check their lungs, coronary heart, throat, ears, pores and skin, stomach, and physique temperature. And final week, Medici, which is a little bit like WhatsApp for distant medical care, secured $24 million in recent funding whereas Medici closed a $25 million funding spherical to assist therapists deal with power well being situations remotely.
LetsGetChecked additionally confirmed that the worldwide lockdown is having a noticeable affect on its wider health-test enterprise.
“We have seen a significant uptick in many of our other tests also,” Foley mentioned. “Many tests have doubled since COVID-19 began. We believe this is a combination of people wanting to avoid face-to-face contact or putting additional stress on the medical frontline, while also being more concerned for their health in general at this time.”