Daktari pours $15M into Scotland Dx manufacturing

Daktari Diagnostics is expanding in Scotland to manufacture its portable HIV diagnostic.--Courtesy of Daktari

Daktari Diagnostics is scaling up its manufacturing presence, planning to spend $15 million to build a plant in Scotland that will manufacture point-of-care HIV tests.

The local government is kicking in $3 million to Daktari's expansion, which will employ 126 people and focus on the company's portable, battery-powered diagnostic device that counts CD4 cells to monitor HIV patients. The device is currently in clinical trials in Africa, and Daktari says it expects the diagnostic to serve an unmet need in the market.

"Designed to monitor patients in remote clinics anywhere in the world, the battery-powered Daktari CD4 counter provides the ease of use and low cost needed by many developing and emerging countries around the world," CEO Bill Rodriguez said in a statement. "We believe Daktari is well positioned to capture significant market share in the coming years."

Humanitarian advances have spread life-saving drugs to remote parts of the world, Daktari says, but sub-standard diagnostics make it difficult for physicians to guide treatment for HIV-positive patients. The company's CD4 counter is designed to provide the reliability of a lab-based test but without the fragile sensors and expensive optics that keep cutting-edge technology out of the developing world.

The company, whose name is Swahili for "doctor," closed a $10 million funding round in late 2011, led by the Merck ($MRK) Global Health Innovation Fund, Norwich Ventures and the Partners Innovation Fund.

- read the announcement