LabCorp-backed Ativa gets $15M to bring diagnostics to the doctor's office in emerging markets

Ativa Micro Lab Analyzer--Courtesy of Ativa Medical

The middle class in emerging market countries wants diagnostics--and Minneapolis, MN-based Ativa Medical plans to bring it to them via a point-of-care, micro lab designed for the physician office. The startup has secured a $15 million Series B round that's intended to support gaining FDA approval for its micro lab and preparing for commercial launch.

Among the syndicate are two key strategic players that could help make that vision a reality: global diagnostics giant LabCorp ($LH) and Dian Diagnostics, which stakes a claim to being China's top central laboratory services company.

Ativa is driven by extreme market need--about half the time globally there's no patient access to diagnostics when they are needed for diagnosis, it says. About 25 primary blood tests account for roughly 80% of the global, annual testing volume of around 2 billion tests per year that cost more than $20 billion--and no single instrument is capable of performing all of these, the company notes.

Ativa's micro lab is expected to enable all 25 of these frequent tests, with on-site results within 5 minutes using only drops of blood with that single, transportable instrument and test cards. It's also expected to be useful for companion diagnostic testing for treatments such as immunotherapy, as well as potentially for clinical trial use.

"Efficiency and information are key to positive medical outcomes. The Ativa micro lab is an economical solution and value-add to our expanding national clinic and care delivery programs," said Jiang Zhang, director of Ping An Ventures, in a statement.

He will join Ativa's board as part of the investment. In addition to Ping An, there were other Asian investors in the financing including Hermed Capital and Diamond BioFund. GIMDx, a U.S.-based IVD R&D unit of Guangzhou Improve Medical also participated.

"As the leading independent commercial lab in China, Dian has always been looking for new technologies and new developed tests globally in order to deliver quality medical services to clients," added Wilson Zhang, director of business development at Dian Diagnostics. "This new technology can assist Dian to expand fast diagnostic results across the whole nation and help decrease medical insurance costs."

- here is the financing announcement