Biotech company Senzo just raised a $2 million round at a $20 million pre-money valuation to further expand lateral flow diagnostic options. “Lateral flow,” in this case, is the same type of test you’ve seen in home pregnancy tests or COVID-19 tests.
The company is creating a product it calls Amplified Lateral Flow (ALF). For starters, it hopes to bring a rapid COVID-19 test to the home through regulatory approval and then to market, but the company has a plethora of other tests up its proverbial sleeves.
Innovation is in the “amplified” part of 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 tests PCR, even in cases with very low viral loads. This is where other home lateral flow tests often fail and (part of) the reason why we perform PCR testing in the first place. The result is that ALF technology enables better and earlier detection of viruses.
“Our vision at Senzo is clear: to make disease diagnosis as fast, simple, inexpensive and accurate as taking your temperature or blood pressure,” Senzo CEO Jeremy Stackawitz told TechCrunch in a statement. “The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the potential for accurate point-of-care diagnostics. Our ALF technology converts this potential into reality in a myriad of applications where more and earlier diagnosis leads to better patient outcomes and faster, more cost-effective patient care.
Senzo is also working on home and professional lateral flow testing for other applications. The society suggests that a wide variety of infections – including influenza, HIV, tuberculosis, strep, hepatitis C, sexually transmitted infections and many viruses – could be candidates for home testing. These diseases are usually diagnosed in central laboratories, with attendant cost and time implications.
The company recently announced the $2 million fundraising led by BioAdvance. Wellness coaches also participated in the round. The company tells me it raised a pre-money valuation of $20 million and points out that this was a huge step up from its Q1 2021 fundraising valuation. The company is considering the round as pre-seed, suggesting it will raise a bigger Series A in early 2023.