Athelas has unveiled a low-cost, blood diagnostics device for the home, capable of testing for certain diseases like the flu, bacterial infections and even cancer.
Founded by Tanay Tandon in 2014, Athelas first wanted to create a connected device that could detect malaria through blood samples. That idea was cumbersome, but it led to the creation of the company’s offering we have today.
Athelas’ new device, which looks like a larger version of an Amazon Echo, lets users stick a slide with their blood on it inside the device to find out if their white blood cell count is off. This is reportedly useful for discovering infections and inflammation in the body, and could also be helpful to those with cancer.
Once collected, the device uses computer imaging to run rapid blood diagnostics from one drop of the blood and then delivers results in less than a minute through the companion Athelas app (available for Android and iOS). From there, the data can be sent to the doctor.
The company’s business model is to work with oncologists who loan the device out to patients while they are on a regimen. This saves them time and the hassle of needing to go into a lab or doctor’s office and give a blood sample as they can simply do the blood test at home every day.
One drop blood diagnostics got a bad name due to the Theranos fiasco, and the Athelas team is well aware of that; it has already clinically validated results of its device, and has published their tests against LabCorp venous counts and in bench studies at Stanford University. Athelas’ product is FDA-approved under a class 1 registration, meaning it can be used for imaging diagnostics.
Right now, the company is marketing the device for at-home use but plans on implementing it in hospitals for triage. It is available on the Athelas’ website where you can get the device with 10 strips for $20 per month.
In addition, the company is also working with hospitals and has formed a few partnerships with drug companies.
The startup has so far raised $3.7 million in seed, led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from Initialized Capital, Joe Montana’s Liquid2, as well as a roster of angels like Elad Gil.