Taking blood without a needle
EPFL-based startup Loop Medical is working on a needleless device to take pain-free blood samples at home. The company has just signed a partnership agreement with Cerba HealthCare to develop this unique product and bring it to the market.
In the near future, you may be able to take your own blood painlessly in the comfort of your home. A breakthrough device developed by Loop Medical could indeed make it extremely simple to obtain blood samples. And the timing is perfect given that diagnoses from blood tests are increasingly common. “Currently, 70% of medical decisions are based on those analysis,” says Arthur Queval, CEO of Loop Medical. “And with the rapid development of personalized medicine, this trend is likely to gain momentum." The EPFL-based startup signed a partnership agreement today with Cerba HealthCare, a European leader in medical biology.
Loop Medical’s cutting-edge product will make it easy to draw enough blood for an expanded range of tests. This is good news for people who require regular blood tests – and for anyone who shies away from needles. The palm-sized device is designed to allow users to take their own blood at home without the help of a health-care professional. After being positioned on the user’s arm, it will draw a sufficient amount of blood in roughly the same amount of time required for a traditional blood sample.
The samples will then be sent to a specialized lab through an established delivery protocol. Despite the development of portable diagnostic systems, blood samples still need to be tested in the lab. For Queval, “decentralized devices generally offer a limited number of tests, and it’s difficult to make the cost competitive with those practiced in the laboratory.”
The company will not reveal how its blood-sampling device works, but it does say that it will be internet-connected. This means that samples will be traceable from the moment blood is drawn until the results are delivered, thereby reducing the scope for errors that could lead to a misdiagnosis.
Also for developing countries
Soon after it was founded in 2017, Loop Medical was awarded 400,000 dollars in seed money by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The startup used this money to try out its idea through preclinical tests. The Gates Foundation sees an obvious interest in introducing needleless blood sampling in developing countries, where the materials needed to ensure proper hygiene are often lacking. And because the device will not require trained staff, it can lead to cost savings while still achieving clinically valid results that will help in the global fight against infectious diseases.
Through its new partnership agreement, Loop Medical will benefit from Cerba HealthCare’s technical, research and medical expertise as the startup enters the product’s development phase and prepares its marketing strategy and product launch. “This support from a global leader in medical biology will be a major growth accelerator for us,” adds Arthur Queval.