NIH Awards Prize to Hemex Health’s Non-Invasive Sickle Cell, Malaria, Anemia Rapid Test (“SMART”) Diagnostic Technology

Portland, Oregon, UNITED STATES

PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 26, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Researchers from Hemex Health, Medtronic plc, Case Western Reserve University, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s International Foundation Against Infectious Disease in Nigeria (IFAIN) were awarded 3rd place and $100,000 in the NIH Technology Accelerator Challenge. The competition was sponsored by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) of the National Institutes of Health and the Gates Foundation.

According to the NIH, the purpose of the challenge was to “spur the development of platform concepts and prototypes of non-invasive, multiplexed diagnostic technologies for sickle cell disease, malaria, and anemia -- diseases with high global and public health impact.”

“Our developers and advisers believe that rapid, non-invasive, ultra low-cost diagnostics will enable entire communities to be screened, helping to eliminate malaria and to diagnose children with sickle cell disease and anemia early enough to get them started on treatments before they become seriously ill,” said Patti White, Hemex’s CEO.

Code named, SMART (Sickle, Malaria, Anemia, Rapid Test), the system includes non-invasive diagnostics for sickle cell, malaria, and anemia. The project seeks to build on Hemex Health’s Gazelle® platform, which currently includes minimally invasive tests (using a drop of blood) for malaria, the detection and quantification of hemoglobin variants, as well as for total hemoglobin for anemia determination. The non-invasive test will screen for anemia, malaria, and sickle cell disease using an optical finger sensor similar to the way blood oxygen is measured. An advantage of combining the non-invasive and minimally invasive diagnostics is, when needed, more diagnostic information and confirmation is available on the same platform. The goal is a one-minute, $0.25 non-invasive malaria, sickle cell, and anemia test.

“The world desperately needs easy-to-use diagnostic technologies with the flexibility needed to meet viruses and diseases in every corner of the planet,” said Ms. White.

About the Gazelle Platform
Hemex’s Gazelle platform quickly and affordably diagnoses multiple diseases at the point of need. The first commercialized tests include malaria and sickle cell disease, and soon to be released, anemia. Gazelle Malaria returns accurate results in about a minute. Gazelle Hb Variant identifies and quantifies hemoglobin disorders such as sickle cell disease in eight minutes.

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