Global Non-Profit & Smartphone DX Firm to Create Malaria Diagnosis App
Malaria continues to wreak havoc around the world, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Although rapid in vitro diagnostic tests (RDTs) for malaria are widely used in those countries, implementation of malaria RDTs has been linked, in cases with negative malaria results, to an increased use of antibiotics. Moreover, analysis of malaria RDT results […]
Malaria continues to wreak havoc around the world, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Although rapid in vitro diagnostic tests (RDTs) for malaria are widely used in those countries, implementation of malaria RDTs has been linked, in cases with negative malaria results, to an increased use of antibiotics. Moreover, analysis of malaria RDT results is tricky and prone to a high rate of error by lab workers. But now a global non-profit and producer of smartphone-based, at-home diagnostics have embarked on a new project designed to remedy that problem.
The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) is a global non-profit organization that works with researchers, DX companies and regulators to facilitate the creation and distribution of diagnostics tools targeting six areas of major disease in LMICs.
Los Angeles-based Scanwell Health creates smartphone-enabled, at-home diagnostics for acute illnesses, chronic diseases and rare conditions, including the first and only over-the-counter app for urinary tract infection testing and treatment cleared by the FDA. The firm is also awaiting emergency use authorization from the FDA for an at-home SARS-CoV-2 test based on proprietary technology for interpreting lateral flow results.
The objective of the partnership, which was signed last in 2019, is to develop a smartphone app that uses machine learning and computer vision algorithms to read RDTs for malaria that healthcare professionals in those countries can use to interpret and record test results easily and more accurately to identify the specific malaria strain and determine the appropriate treatment. Based on the same lateral-flow test technology used by the Scanwell at-home SARS-CoV-2 test, the malaria app will be compatible with multiple RDT and mobile device brands and types, and thus suitable for broad use in LMICs.
The Scanwell app will also support on-the-ground data collection and feed into regional and national digital surveillance systems designed to help combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR). AMR, which undermines the efficacy of antibiotics, is of disproportionately greater concern in LMICs, where health systems tend to be weak, resources are often in short supply and “just in case” prescribing of antibiotics is common.
The partners expect to complete evaluation of the app and make it available in at least two to three LMICs this year. The implementation will focus on connecting this app with existing digital tools at a community healthcare level and national surveillance systems for monitoring AMR.
The End Game
“Malaria elimination and robust disease surveillance both depend on point-of-care testing that can be performed at the lowest levels of the healthcare system,” noted FIND CEO Catharina Boehme, CEO of FIND. “Using technology to optimize the use of RDTs for better patient care, while also enabling the collection of critical data to inform policy decisions on AMR strategies—and potentially also pandemic response—is a double win.”
Here’s a summary of other key strategic diagnostic deals announced in June 2020:
|STRATEGIC ALLIANCES, PARTNERSHIPS & COLLABORATIONS|
|Partner 1||Partner(s) 2+||Deal Summary|
|Thermo Fisher Scientific||Daiichi Sankyo|
|Thermo Fisher Scientific||Genetron Health|
|Thermo Fisher Scientific||Agios Pharmaceuticals|
|ArcherDx||Bristol Myers Squibb|
|Canopy Biosciences||OnRamp Bioinformatics|
|Dante Labs||Cambridge Cancer Genomics + Nonacus|
|Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics||Scanwell Health|
|Avalon GloboCare||GensKey Medical Technology|
|Sherlock Biosciences||Integrated DNA Technologies|
|Life Science Biosensor Diagnostics (iQX subsidiary)||Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering|
|Prescient Metabiomics||Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health|
|Takara Bio USA||BioSyntagma|
|Swift Biosciences||Arbor Biosciences (division of Chiral Technologies)|
|Illumina||Genomic Medicine Sweden|
|BioGX||Bosch Healthcare Solutions|
|DISTRIBUTION, SALES & MARKETING AGREEMENTS|
|Property Owner||Distributor||Deal Summary|
|NLC Pharma||Todos Medical|
|Healgen Scientific||Menarini Silicon Biosystems|
|Sienna Cancer Diagnostics||Triolab|
|MedMira||Webb Diagnostic Technologies|
|St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital||BioSkryb|
|Ohio State Innovation Foundation||Exagen|
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||Modular Bioscience|
|SUPPLY, SERVICE & TESTING AGREEMENTS|
|GenMark Diagnostics||Vidant Health|
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