Senzo Raises $2M in Funding to Advance New More Accurate At-Home COVID Test
Healthcare and diagnostics startup Senzo announced they raised $2 million in seed funding in July of this year. The funding round was led by BioAdvance, which focuses on investing in life science startups, with participation from Wellness Coaches USA. Senzo is a deep-tech bio-med company that develops testing products. The company has been working on an at-home COVID test, which claims 100% accuracy at ½ the cost of current tests. Senzo is also rolling out its phase 1 testing products for Flu A/B, tuberculosis, HIV, Hepatitis C, and C difficile. The money raised during the seed round will go towards the ALF (Amplified Lateral Flow) COVID testing through regulatory approval and to market. The funds will also be used to increase the manufacturing capacity and improve the development of other at-home testing products.
Researchers at the University of Sheffield say that Senzo’s at-home Covid test is 100% accurate at ½ the cost of current tests with similar accuracy (~$24 vs $50)
The current average time to deliver results for the COVID PCR swab test is 1-2 days from the date of specimen pickup.
Some of the at-home rapid antigen tests have an overall sensitivity of roughly 85 percent, which means that they are catching roughly 85 percent of people who are infected with the virus and missing 15 percent.
At-home test use peaked in January 2022, with 11.0% (95% CI = 10.7%–11.3%) of the surveyed population reporting at-home test use within the preceding 30 days compared with 2.0% (95% CI = 1.8%–2.1%) in October 2021 and 7.5% (95% CI = 7.1%–8.0%) in March 2022.
Senzo was founded in 2014 by Aron Rachami, Ph.D., and Eli Mohamad. The company was established with the goal of utilizing cutting-edge technologies, with an emphasis on increased sensitivity, to develop portable, point-of-care, and self-testing products. Senzo’s devices use a technology called Amplified Lateral Flow (ALF) which can detect viruses with significantly less viral load then-current technologies. The company’s tests are designed perform precisely, rapidly, and affordably and to be available where medical professionals and patients need them most. Current lab tests, like highly accurate PCR tests for COVID, rely on expensive examinations that require they be sent to a central-lab facility. Senzo is attempting to change the paradigm by bringing testing to the patient at the point of care. By applying insights gained at the point of care, patients may make better choices more quickly, and medical practitioners can spot illnesses earlier, leading to earlier interventions and better treatment outcomes.
While the idea of at-home testing is not new and has become commonplace as a result of the Pandemic, one distinct feature of Senzo’s test is the accuracy they claim to be able to achieve. In a research study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Scheffield, Senzo’s antigen test took only 10 minutes and accurately detected 25 positive cases and 25 negative cases, demonstrating that the test was able to detect COVID with 100% accuracy. This type of result would place Senzo’s ALF test on par with the current standard for accuracy, a lab-based PCR. Assuming these results are accurate, can be replicated, and are scalable, Senzo will be able to create a testing kit with improved accuracy, and less processing time, which is more cost-effective than their competitors. In addition, during times of crisis or high demand (such as during a public health emergency like COVID) this type of test could potentially reduce the workload of laboratory staff that have to manually process lab specimens and may be needed for other types of testing.
The Big Picture:
Innovations like at-home testing, necessitated by the Pandemic have permanently altered the face of healthcare and how it is delivered. Along with virtual care services, many are looking at bringing the accuracy of lab-based tests to the home. Solutions like Senzo’s which dramatically improve both accuracy and convenience allow for more timely treatment, less lag time, and improved outcomes. These testing kits can be implemented in the home, nursing facilities, and hospitals for emergency testing. Physicians and staff workers can benefit from testing their patients and receiving early results as well as potentially reducing their own exposure to disease. Innovations like ALF allows the detection of viruses even with a very low viral load which enhances officials' ability to detect public health threats. Being attuned to the earliest signs of a virus and confirming the diagnosis with a test will be a great asset when it comes to dealing with future pandemics and illnesses. Solutions like Senzo’s allow earlier tracking, detection, and treatment of viruses all of which should improve not just individual patients but overall public health as well.