Canadian startup's analyzer could upend HIV, cancer Dx testing

Canadian startup ChipCare nailed down nearly $2 million in angel funding to advance a handheld analyzer that could boost access to everything from HIV testing to cancer diagnostics.

The Toronto-based company and its backers touted the $1.99 million round (C$2.05 million) as one of the largest angel fundings to date in Canada's healthcare sector. A number of investors participated, including Maple Leaf Angels, MaRS Innovation and the University of Toronto.

ChipCare will use the cash to pursue further development of a device designed to run multiple diagnostics at the same time, produce faster and more accurate test results, and serve as a less costly option than the competition. Executives are working on a three-year development plan to produce a more durable and economic prototype.

On the company's website, ChipCare compares its technology to glucose meters. A clinician would use a finger prick to draw a blood sample onto a disposable plastic cartridge. The cartridge then gets inserted into the handheld plastic analyzer, with results ready in 10 to 15 minutes, the company explains.

An advanced, point-of-care analyzer would boost the standard of care for patients and give them a testing option at home. That's a boost in developed markets, but particularly useful in the developing world, where clinicians struggle to improve diagnosis and treatment of a variety of diseases.

"The diagnostic potential of this device can hardly be overstated," Adrian Schauer of Maple Leaf Angels said in a statement. "We are investing heavily in its commercialization because we see the potential to revolutionize bedside testing for many conditions, from HIV and malaria in the developing world, to sepsis, heart disease and cancers here at home."

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