Scanwell Health Awarded NIH Grant to Accelerate Development of its Smartphone-Enabled, At-Home Test for Chronic Kidney Disease

Telehealth trend, hastened by COVID-19, also benefiting many people with chronic diseases

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 21, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Scanwell Health, a Los Angeles-based company that makes healthcare quick and easy by offering at-home lab tests, has been awarded a $1.6M National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant.

The grant will provide funds for the continued development of Scanwell’s smartphone-enabled, at-home test for chronic kidney disease (CKD). It is estimated that more than 30 million people in the US have some form of kidney disease. Due to the asymptomatic nature of early CKD, many who have it are unaware: according to the National Kidney Foundation, approximately 90% of those with CKD don’t know they have it.

Currently there is no cure for chronic kidney disease. In its final stages, hemodialysis or a kidney transplant become necessary to live. Mortality rates for hemodialysis patients are shockingly high––only 42% of patients remain alive after five years of treatment. However, when diagnosed early enough, the progression of CKD to end-stage renal failure can be slowed with medications and lifestyle interventions.

Scanwell’s test will make screening for and monitoring early CKD quick and easy. The company’s technology will allow patients to test themselves from home using only a urine test kit and their smartphones, resulting in earlier diagnosis and accelerated care.

Scanwell’s at-home approach to lab testing is especially timely as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a major shift to telehealth. According to McKinsey, healthcare providers are seeing 50 to 175 times the number of patients via telehealth than before the pandemic.

"We want to live in a world where kidney disease never comes out of left field, but far too often, it does," said Stephen Chen, Founder and CEO of Scanwell. "We developed this technology to give an early warning, which will dramatically improve the quality of life for millions of people.”

Though Scanwell’s test is not yet commercially available, an early version is currently being used by researchers at Kaiser Permanente, Johns Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic, the University of Pennsylvania and others as part of the NIH-funded Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study. The new SBIR grant will enable Scanwell to continue development and validation, as well as conduct clinical studies before submitting the test to the Federal Drug Administration for review.

“Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute Of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R44ES032768. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.”

About Scanwell Health
Scanwell Health makes healthcare quick and easy by offering smartphone-enabled, at-home lab tests. Scanwell’s innovative approach allows people to self-test without leaving home, get quick results, and connect to care digitally. By quickly diagnosing acute illnesses, chronic diseases and rare conditions, Scanwell accelerates the path to treatment. Scanwell is the first and only company to gain FDA 510k clearance for an over-the-counter (OTC) remote diagnostic. Learn more at

Media Contact:
Michelle Faulkner