Cue Health, a rapid diagnostics startup now working on a connected testing device, has closed $100 million in a Series C round announced this morning. Decheng Capital, Foresite Capital, Madrone Capital Partners, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, ACME Capital and other unnamed investment firms all participated in the raise.
WHAT THEY DO
The San Diego-based company's leading product is the Cue Health Monitoring System, an in-development molecular testing platform being designed for use in care settings, as well as in the home. Paired with disposable cartridges, the system delivers its results digitally to either a patient-history-software dashboard for providers, or a mobile app for consumers. Both interfaces also include easy connection to telehealth consultations and prescription services.
The company said in its funding announcement that it is currently validating its system for FDA submission as an at-home influenza testing platform, with plans to expand its capabilities to other infectious diseases. Cue has also been working on a COVID-19 molecular test that it says is under review for Emergency Use Authorization.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for a rapid, easy-to-use platform for diagnostics in decentralized settings to respond to existing and emerging threats," Ayub Khattak, CEO and cofounder of Cue, said in a statement. "Healthcare settings such as nursing homes, emergency departments, and community health clinics need tools to allow them to access molecular test information immediately rather than waiting hours or days for lab results.
WHAT IT'S FOR
In addition to supporting the development and validation of these tests, Cue said that it would be using the funds to scale the manufacturing of its platform. This effort includes plans to more than double its floor space in San Diego.
There's little shortage of at-home testing startups, and a fair number look to involve smartphone apps or other software. Companies like Scanwell, healthy.io, TestCard, Mira and inui Health have each developed urine-testing platforms, while 1Drop Diagnostics, Thriva and EverlyWell have released blood-based home health-screening for consumers.
The market has received a recent shot in the arm, and new drama, with the rise of COVID-19. Several startups and services announced the launch of at-home sample-collection kits they believed were permitted under emergency FDA policy, but were forced to rescind their consumer-facing offerings. Now, some consumer health brands like EverlyWell and even Hims have retooled those services to fall in line with the agency's requirements, and to more deeply incorporate telehealth consultations for those who test positive.
ON THE RECORD
“We are excited to welcome strong healthcare and life-science focused investors that align with our vision for how diagnostics should evolve," Khattak said. "Ultimately, broad distribution of the connected Cue platform to both healthcare professionals and consumers will enable a new model of rapid, on-demand diagnostic testing and enhanced telemedicine capabilities, changing the way important health information is accessed and acted on.”