Belgian startup Antelope Dx raises €9M to fund development of at-home self tests for STDs and COVID-19

Over the past few years, investments in the healthcare diagnostic industry have been building momentum due to the growing awareness about the health benefits of early diagnosis and preventive care. According to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA), home tests can be cost-effective, quick, and confidential. 

As at-home diagnostic testing gains more acceptance, many medical device manufacturers are embracing the opportunities to develop a wide range of low-cost tools, and tests along a continuum of wellness and prevention. This ranges from chronic-disease management to identifying future risks of illness.

Antelope Dx secures €9M funding

Ghent-based Antelope Dx is one such company that develops a palm-sized home test diagnostic device that allows individuals and primary healthcare professionals to access key health parameters immediately. 

Recently, Antelope Dx secured €9M funding in a Series B round. The round was subscribed in a 50/50 ratio by an investment consortium led by Whitefund, and the Existing A-round investors.. 

A few weeks back, Antelope Dx also received a €2.2M grant from the Flanders Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) to expand the use of its at-home diagnostic testing platform. The new round brings the company’s total funding amount, raised till date, to €14.1M. 

According to Hilde Windels, CEO of Antelope Dx, Michel Baijot, chairman of Whitefund will join  Antelope Dx’s board, together with Hugues Wallemacq – a Noshaq investment manager with a broad experience in the medical field. 

What Antelope brings to the test

The Belgian company will utilise the funding to initiate clinical development of the urine-based self-test for Chlamydia trachomatis  (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG). 

Furthermore, the company is developing respiratory Influenza A/B and Sars-CoV-2 tests using a single swab sample, that would allow patients to test in their home. It’s also working on quantitative measurement of protein biomarkers in finger-prick blood samples. 

According to the company, the fact that it offers the rare trifecta of “clinical lab performance with the ease-of-use of a pregnancy test at a consumer price tag” is its differentiating factor. The platform is based on lab-on-chip technology and aims to perform tests on any bodily fluid, without requiring complex user operations or sample preparation.

Michel Baijot, Chairman of Whitefund, comments: “We were very pleased to lead this financing round involving other solid private partners and to count Antelope Dx as Whitefund’s first investment. Antelope Dx’s innovative technology platform allows us to address the real need for home diagnostic testing as pointed and urgently requested by the current Covid-19 pandemic.”

Main image credits: Antelope Dx

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Startups – Silicon Canals

EIT Digital tests token-based COVID-19 tracing in crowded real-life settings across four European regions

As relaxations have kicked in across the world and people are adapting to the new normal, containing the spread of COVID-19 is very important. This is possible with contact tracing and it is the reason for many countries to launch smartphone app solutions. Facilitating the same, EIT Digital complements the smartphone app approach with solutions based on physical tokens.

COVID-19 tracing pilot

EIT Digital is a European digital innovation and entrepreneurial education organisation. It fosters digital innovation in businesses and entrepreneurs by providing them with technology, talent, and growth support. It has partnered with four European regions and has started testing the COVID-19 tracing with physical tokens in real-life settings. The testing is being conducted at events and situations that are crucial for opening essential parts of the economy in Europe.

The COVID-19 tracing pilot will be tested initially at football stadiums, high schools, hospitals, concerts, factories, and opera houses. EIT Digital supports four teams located in the UK, Italy, Benelux, and Nordics. This move is a part of the initiatives taken to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on various economies and societies, using digital technology.

Secure, yet anonymous

The contact tracing pilot was launched in September. According to EIT Digital, these token systems will be easy to use, secure, and privacy-preserving. Also, it can operate independently of mobile phones. These physical contact tracing tokens can complement app-based tracing solutions.

These pilots have anonymity as the common aspect and wearers will be anonymously notified if they have come in contact with a fellow wearer who has been infected with COVID-19 – either potentially or confirmed. On receiving this notification, wearers will be prompted to self-isolate themselves and take a COVID-19 test.

UK pilot: Among these pilots, the UK pilot device C-Detect will be validated across many clinics and on construction sites in the UK by mid-October. The early warning system of COVID-19 can track and trace contagion. It can be attached to a wristband and check the wearer’s respiration rate, heart rate, oxygen saturation, body temperature every 10 minutes. Exceeding the suggested limits in any of these aspects will indicate the presence of COVID-19 infection. And, in such case, the C-Detect pilot will prompt the wearer to take a test and curb its spread.

Benelux pilot: TokenMe, the Benelux pilot deploys a wristwatch-like solution. The devices will detect proximity and exchange IDs anonymously through broadcast radio. Its bracelet system will be tested in two settings – large-scale events like concerts and football games in the Philips Stadium of Dutch club PSV Eindhoven. Visitors will be offered to take and wear the device and notification of users who are infected will remain voluntary.

Italian pilot: IprotectEU, the Italian pilot uses a token system that resembles a bracelet. It intends to run the pilot in four stages and situations with an increasing number of users. Initially, it will be run in an Italian high school and then will be followed by a factory plant, an opera house, and a large concert venue.

Nordics pilot: Finally, the Nordic team applies a hybrid solution that combines hardware tokens with a smartphone-based app that assists all tokens in proximity in order to save battery. The companion apps are not personal and are not mandatory for token owners to use. This is especially meant for hospital environments and construction sites.

These teams will create startups that will run the pilots. Upon successful completion, these teams will be responsible for market introduction, production upscaling, and commercial distribution.

Main image picture credits: EIT Digital

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Startups – Silicon Canals

Self-charging, thousand-year battery startup NDB aces key tests and lands first beta customers

Pleasanton-based green energy startup NDB, Inc. has reached a key milestone today with the completion of two proof of concept tests of its nano diamond battery (NDB) . One of these tests took place at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the other at the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University, and both saw NDB’s battery tech manage a 40% charge, which is a big improvement over the 15% charge collection efficiency (effectively energy lossiness relative to maximum total possible charge) of standard commercial diamond.

NDB’s innovation is in creating a new, proprietary nano diamond treatment that allows for more efficient extraction of electric charge from the diamond used in the creation of the battery. Their goal is to ultimately commercialize a version of their battery that can self-charge for up to a maximum lifespan of 28,000 years, created from artificial diamond-encased carbon-14 nuclear waste.

This battery doesn’t generate any carbon emissions in operation, and only requires access to open air to work. And while they’re technically batteries, because they contain a charge which will eventually be expended, they provide their own charge for much longer than the lifetime of any specific device or individual user, making them effectively a charge-free solution.

NDB ultimately hopes to turn their battery into a viable source of power for just about anything that consumes it — including aircraft, EVs, trains and more, all the way down to smartphones, wearables and tiny industrial sensors. The company is currently now at work creating a prototype of its first commercial battery in order to make that available sometime later this year.

It has also just signed its first beta customers, who will actually be receiving and making use of those first prototypes. While it hasn’t named them specifically, it did say that one is “a leader in nuclear fuel cycle products and services,” and the other is “a leading global aerospace, defense and security manufacturing company.” Obviously, this kind of tech has appeal in just about every sector, but defense and power concerns are likely among the deepest-pocketed.

Startups – TechCrunch

NewsLetter: Revolutionizing Blood Tests + Covid-19 Tracking and Testing

$ 71M Round for Sight Diagnostics

OLO

OurCrowd portfolio company Sight Diagnostics raised $ 71M for Its OLO Blood Analyzer with participation from Koch Disruptive Technologies, Longliv Ventures and OurCrowd. Sight’s FDA-cleared technology is set to revolutionize blood analysis by providing a full blood count comparable to existing lab tests, within minutes, on the spot, from a small pinprick. The company is researching the detection of new diseases and blood factors affecting the severity of Covid-19. OurCrowd has been an investor in Sight Diagnostics since 2014.

Webinar Aug.12: Protecting Data in the Quantum Age

Join us this Wednesday, August 12th for our next webinar Protecting Your Data Encryption in the Age of Quantum Computing at 8:00AM PDT, 11:00AM EDT, 6:00PM IDT. Prof. Hagai Eisenberg, CSO, QuantLR will explain how the company’s technology securely protects and encrypts data against quantum computing threats. Dr. Tal David, head of the Israel National Quantum Initiative, will discuss how government, corporations and startups will each play a pivotal role in developing quantum infrastructure and mitigating the associated risks. 

Top Tech News

Bizzabo’s Pivot to Virtual Events

Alon Alroy, CMO of Bizzabo, tells the TechCrunch Ask-Me-Anything Series how Bizzabo rapidly became one of the leading event management companies for virtual events amid the coronavirus pandemic, and rapidly increased its revenues.

Covid-19 Testing Solution from Neura

Increased capacity & faster results: Neura deploys COVID19 testing solution. “Being able to identify high and low-risk groups, future outbreaks, and behavioral Super-Spreaders is crucial to government efforts to fight the virus. With the recent FDA approval of Covid-19 test pooling, Neura’s insights will go even further in helping to slow and break down the chain of infection.”

Singapore Trials Airobotics Contact Tracing Solution

Singapore’s police have been trialing two pilotless drones developed by Airobotics to help enforce social distancing measures aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19.

Cracking Online Education

MasterClass Focuses on Talent to Stand Out in Online Education. The company chose to “run towards the impossible” to break into the crowded online education space, says CEO and Co-Founder David Rogier.

Israeli Startups Raise $ 700M in July

Israeli tech companies, which raised a record $ 8.3 billion in 2019, have already raised almost $ 6 billion in the first seven months of 2020, despite the Covid-19 crisis.

Taranis to Expand in Asia After Raising $ 30M

“In Asia, the agriculture food industry is unable to keep up with the region’s burgeoning population growth and demand,”  says Taranis, announcing a major initiative in Asia following its $ 30M Series C finance in July. The company’s drone-based agricultural intelligence system provides data from analyzing ultra-high-resolution images of crops.

Watch the Latest from OurCrowd

Medical Innovation from the Gates Foundation

Dr. Ruth Atherton, Deputy General Counsel and Director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, updates the OurCrowd Pandemic Innovation Conference on efforts to help mitigate the coronavirus crisis by creating global access to medical innovation. Watch here.

 

Creating Global Access to Medical Innovation

 

 

 

Job Vacancies

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, there are open positions at our global portfolio companies. See some opportunities below:

Search and filter through OurTalent to find your next challenge.

 

 

The post NewsLetter: Revolutionizing Blood Tests + Covid-19 Tracking and Testing appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

OurCrowd Blog

[Airobotics in The Globe and Mail] Singapore tests drones for monitoring physical distancing

Singapore police are testing two drones developed by Israel’s Airobotics to help enforce social distancing measures.

Watch it here.

The post [Airobotics in The Globe and Mail] Singapore tests drones for monitoring physical distancing appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

OurCrowd Blog

In the News: Revolutionizing Blood Tests + Unmanned Vehicle Fleet Control

$ 71M Round for Sight Diagnostics

OLO

OurCrowd portfolio company Sight Diagnostics raised $ 71M for Its OLO Blood Analyzer with participation from Koch Disruptive Technologies, Longliv Ventures and OurCrowd. Sight’s FDA-cleared technology is set to revolutionize blood analysis by providing a full blood count comparable to existing lab tests, within minutes, on the spot, from a small pinprick. The company is researching the detection of new diseases and blood factors affecting the severity of Covid-19. OurCrowd has been an investor in Sight Diagnostics since 2014.

Webinar Aug.12: Protecting Data in the Quantum Age

Join us this Wednesday, August 12th for our next webinar Protecting Your Data Encryption in the Age of Quantum Computing at 8:00AM PDT, 11:00AM EDT, 6:00PM IDT. Prof. Hagai Eisenberg, CSO, QuantLR will explain how the company’s technology securely protects and encrypts data against quantum computing threats. Dr. Tal David, head of the Israel National Quantum Initiative, will discuss how government, corporations and startups will each play a pivotal role in developing quantum infrastructure and mitigating the associated risks. 

Top Tech News

Bizzabo’s Pivot to Virtual Events

Alon Alroy, CMO of Bizzabo, tells the TechCrunch Ask-Me-Anything Series how Bizzabo rapidly became one of the leading event management companies for virtual events amid the coronavirus pandemic, and rapidly increased its revenues.

Covid-19 Testing Solution from Neura

Increased capacity & faster results: Neura deploys COVID19 testing solution. “Being able to identify high and low-risk groups, future outbreaks, and behavioral Super-Spreaders is crucial to government efforts to fight the virus. With the recent FDA approval of Covid-19 test pooling, Neura’s insights will go even further in helping to slow and break down the chain of infection.”

Singapore Trials Airobotics Contact Tracing Solution

Singapore’s police have been trialing two pilotless drones developed by Airobotics to help enforce social distancing measures aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19.

Cracking Online Education

MasterClass Focuses on Talent to Stand Out in Online Education. The company chose to “run towards the impossible” to break into the crowded online education space, says CEO and Co-Founder David Rogier.

Israeli Startups Raise $ 700M in July

Israeli tech companies, which raised a record $ 8.3 billion in 2019, have already raised almost $ 6 billion in the first seven months of 2020, despite the Covid-19 crisis.

Taranis to Expand in Asia After Raising $ 30M

“In Asia, the agriculture food industry is unable to keep up with the region’s burgeoning population growth and demand,”  says Taranis, announcing a major initiative in Asia following its $ 30M Series C finance in July. The company’s drone-based agricultural intelligence system provides data from analyzing ultra-high-resolution images of crops.

Watch the Latest from OurCrowd

Medical Innovation from the Gates Foundation

Dr. Ruth Atherton, Deputy General Counsel and Director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, updates the OurCrowd Pandemic Innovation Conference on efforts to help mitigate the coronavirus crisis by creating global access to medical innovation. Watch here.

Creating Global Access to Medical Innovation

Job Vacancies

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, there are open positions at our global portfolio companies. See some opportunities below:

Search and filter through OurTalent to find your next challenge.

The post In the News: Revolutionizing Blood Tests + Unmanned Vehicle Fleet Control appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

OurCrowd Blog

[DouxMatok in Food Navigator] DouxMatok gears up for US launch, tests next-generation enhanced sugar using fiber as a carrier

DouxMatok, the Israeli firm behind patented technology that makes sugar taste sweeter, has struck a deal with a North American sugar refiner to manufacture commercial quantities of its ‘enhanced’ sugar, with the first products containing the sugar likely to hit the US market in Q1, 2021.

Read more here.

The post [DouxMatok in Food Navigator] DouxMatok gears up for US launch, tests next-generation enhanced sugar using fiber as a carrier appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

OurCrowd Blog

Stix, offering D2C pregnancy and ovulation tests, raises $1.3 million in seed funding

Stix, a direct-to-consumer women’s health brand, today announced the close of a $ 1.3 million seed round. Investors such as BDMI, Rogue Women’s Fund, Vamos Ventures, Founders Factory New York, as well as angels like Heidi Zak (ThirdLove) Laurence Franklin (Coach) and Steve Gutentag and Demetri Karagas (30 Madison) participated in the round.

There is no shortage of men’s health startups out there to ease the awkwardness and stress of getting products for hair loss or erectile dysfunction. But when it comes to something as common and straightforward as purchasing a pregnancy test, women must still make a run to the drug store.

Until Stix.

Stix offers competitively priced pregnancy tests and ovulation tests that customers can purchase online. As a diagnostics product, Stix is FDA-cleared and everything from the instructions to the promotional language has to go through the FDA, according to Cynthia Plotch. The co-founder and CEO says that both the pregnancy tests and ovulation tests are more than 99% accurate.

The Stix pregnancy test costs $ 13, and includes two tests, free shipping and instructional materials. The ovulation test, which includes seven tests, costs $ 17.

The company has also taken measures to ensure that the delivery of these products is discreet for customers who don’t want their roommates, whether it’s a live-in partner or parent or just a regular roommate, to know they’re purchasing a pregnancy test.

Stix uses PayPal to stay discreet on the credit card bill, and doesn’t include “Stix” on the return address of the shipped products.

“The entire experience is really based on learning and education,” said Plotch. “We believe that all women deserve access to these products and peace of mind throughout the experience. So, unlike other brands, we don’t focus on the outcome of the test. We don’t care whether or not you’re trying to get pregnant. We just want to make sure that you have accurate results and the information that you need to understand them.”

Beyond the physical products, Stix also offers the Stix Library, an educational resource online that includes content around Stix products (of course), pregnancy, ovulation, birth control and more general health information.

“What we’ve found is that there is a huge problem around the lack of proper sex education in this country,” said Plotch, adding that it provides an opportunity for Stix to fill in the gaps.

When asked if Stix would ever get into the birth control space, Plotch said that Stix has “high goals” and that “nothing is out of the question in the near future.”

Stix is currently a team of three women, and plans to use the funding to continue growing the team, which is currently 100% white. Plotch added that the company has a commitment to diversity and that the team will “definitely look different” on the heels of this round.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this post said that Stix was FDA-approved. It has been updated to reflect that Stix is FDA-cleared. 

Startups – TechCrunch