Gates Foundation-backed fund invests in rapid diagnostics maker Atomo

Sydney-based Atomo Diagnostics picked up AU$4.5 million ($3.5 million) in equity from a number of investors, including the Gates Foundation-backed Global Health Investment Fund. Atomo makes rapid diagnostic tests for HIV and malaria that require just a drop of blood.

The company’s AtomoRapid HIV tool integrates lancing, blood collection and delivery components into one device. After pricking the skin, the lancet is locked out of the way and a capillary tube automatically collects the 10 microliters of blood required for the AtomoRapid HIV test. The blood is then automatically delivered to the HIV test strip, which provides results within 15 minutes.

Combining these different components into one device reduces opportunities for error, cutting down on false negatives while increasing the speed of diagnosis. Current HIV test kits use multiple devices and require the manual collection and delivery of the blood sample to the test itself, the company said.

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The company hopes to replace these tests with AtomoRapid platform. In addition to diagnosing HIV, Atomo also markets AtomoRapid Malaria, which tests for the mosquito-borne disease and distinguishes between malaria strains. And a hepatitis C test, as well as a multitest platform, are in the works.

The investment also sees Dr. Curt LaBelle, a managing partner at the Global Health Investment Fund, join Atomo’s board of directors. Atomo received a AU$7.8 million ($6 million) loan from the GHIF earlier this year, and in 2015, won a AU$1.8 million ($$1.3 million) grant from the New South Wales Medical Device Fund to develop a version of its HIV test with a built-in digital reader.

“Our fund is pleased to provide additional support to Atomo Diagnostics through this equity investment. Atomo has developed a unique platform enabling quick, accurate and affordable point-of-care and consumer diagnostics,” LaBelle said in a statement.

- here's the statement

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