Swiss blood testing company gets $2.5M for novel at-home system

By Jonah Comstock

DBS System, a Swiss company that makes a line of portable blood tests called HemaXis, has raised $2.5 million led by investiere. The funding was in Swiss francs, but the values of the currencies are currently approximately equal. Investiere contributed $800,000, Swiss pension fund Nest put in $700,000, and $1 million came from existing shareholders and angel investors.

DBS stands for "dried blood spot". One aspect of the system, which uses microfluidic technology, is that it can deliver more reliable information compared to traditional dried blood-based sampling, which makes at-home testing easier and more reliable. The method, called microsampling, also requires considerably less blood than existing blood tests.

The company's first generation HemaXis system, HemaXis DB, is already in the market in Europe and the company is establishing partnerships in Europe and the United States. The funds raised are going to the development of a second-generation device called HemaXis DP, which will be able to passively separate plasma from serum without the need for centrifugation or filtration.

“The advantages of our technology are clear: the device can be used by anyone in a non-medical environment, blood samples are reliable, secured and standardized, logistics are simplified, and it fits within the existing workflow, all together resulting in significant  cost savings for labs,” CEO Eric Ödman said in a statement. “This model is beneficial for us and our partners because they can expand their market by reaching more patients and it enables us to leverage them to build awareness and prescribe the use of our devices through their distribution networks in an estimated addressable market size of USD 20 Billion”.

A handful of companies are trying to reinvent the way blood is drawn for testing. At CES this year, Seventh Sense Biosystems unveiled its TAP device which draws blood in two to three minutes without large needles. In addition there are at-home lab test makers like Everlywell and myLabBox and wellness companies that promise to deliver insights from blood tests, like Segterra and Cor. Of course, investors are also especially wary of this space after Theranos, a company that promised to reinvent blood testing with an advanced finger prick system, overstated the capabilities of its technology and ran afoul of both investors and the FDA.