Magnolia Medical nets $20M for its blood sample isolation system

The Steripath system isolates the initial few milliliters of drawn blood that are most likely to contain contaminants. (Magnolia)

Magnolia Medical Technologies raised $20 million in venture capital funding to help scale up production of its Steripath Gen2 Initial Specimen Diversion Device, which aims to reduce sample contamination during patient blood draws.

The Seattle and Silicon Valley-based company estimates that between about one-third and one-half of blood culture results are contaminated, even when following best practices, and that can result in false-positive diagnoses.

For example, while the surface of skin can be disinfected, there may still be bacteria and other flora in other layers, and pieces of skin may enter the sample through the collection needle. These diagnostic errors can impact over 1 million patients and cause $5 billion in unnecessary healthcare costs, stemming from unneeded follow-up tests or antibiotic usage, Magnolia estimates.

The Steripath system isolates the initial few milliliters of drawn blood that are most likely to contain contaminants, while allowing the rest to be collected by commonly used sample containers, to help improve the accuracy of laboratory diagnostic tests.

The series C financing will also help support the company's development of new blood and bodily fluid collection devices. The round was led by RTW Investments, with participation from returning investors HealthQuest Capital, SightLine Partners and Canepa Healthcare.

RELATED: Magnolia Medical closes $13.8M Series B to commercialize blood collection system

"Our mission as a company is to eradicate inaccurate laboratory test results that lead to harmful patient mistreatments and significant avoidable costs,” said Greg Bullington, CEO of Magnolia Medical, who described efforts to convince policymakers to change national blood culture guidelines and contamination benchmarks.

“We have made very strong progress in establishing a new standard of care for sepsis testing accuracy and look forward to repeating our proven process with other critical, yet frequently inaccurate, laboratory tests,” Bullington added.