Biotech company Senzo just raised a $2 million round at a $20 million pre-money valuation to further extend options for lateral flow diagnostics. "Lateral flow," in this case, is the same type of testing you've seen from at-home pregnancy or COVID-19 tests.
The company is creating a product it calls Amplified Lateral Flow (ALF). For starters, it's hoping to bring a COVID-19 at-home rapid test through regulatory approval and then to market, but the company has a plethora of other tests up its proverbial sleeves.
The innovation is in the "amplified" part of the ALF -- the company recently announced promising results from a third-party study demonstrating that its ALF COVID-19 antigen test was 100% accurate in concordance with PCR testing, even in cases with very low viral loads. That's where other at-home lateral flow tests often come up short and (part of) the reason why we do PCR testing in the first place. The upshot is that the ALF tech enables better and earlier detection of viruses.
"Our vision at Senzo is clear: to make the diagnosis of disease as fast, simple, inexpensive, and accurate as taking a temperature or blood pressure reading," Jeremy Stackawitz, CEO of Senzo told TechCrunch in a statement. "The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the potential for accurate point-of-care diagnostics. Our ALF technology converts that potential to reality in myriad applications where more and earlier diagnosis results in better patient outcomes and more timely and cost-effective patient care."
Senzo is also working on lateral flow tests for at-home and professional use for other applications. The company suggests that a wide variety of infections -- including influenza, HIV, tuberculosis, strep, hepatitis C, sexually transmitted infections and many viruses -- could be candidates for at-home tests. These diseases are usually diagnosed in central laboratories, with the cost and time implications thereof.
The company recently announced the $2 million equity funding round led by BioAdvance. Wellness Coaches also participated in the round. The company tells me it raised at a $20 million pre-money valuation and points out that that was a huge step up from its Q1 2021 fundraising valuation. The company views the round as being pre-seed, suggesting it will raise a larger Series A in early 2023.