Grant Awarded for Novel Blood Sampling Technology
04 Jan 2012

Seventh Sense Biosystems. Inc. has announced that it has been awarded a $3.28 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant is part of the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative to seek out innovative ideas for diagnostics in the developing world, and is one of more than twenty point-of-care diagnostics grants to have been announced.

Seventh Sense Biosystems is developing novel blood sampling technology for decentralized diagnostic testing. Its proprietary Touch Activated PhlebotomyTM (TAP) technology platform is being developed to eliminate the discomfort, inconvenience and expert intervention that is often experienced as a result of traditional phlebotomy techniques.

The TAP system works by penetrating the uppermost layers of skin and uses a proprietary microfluidic extraction process to transfer blood to a collection reservoir for sampling and analysis. Future platforms in development include a disposable, fully integrated sample and test system which would help to avoid handling and contamination risks associated with typical sample transfers. The device would also be able to be directly interfaced with handheld or benchtop instruments. The TAP platform was recognized by The Edison AwardsTM in 2011 for its innovation, creativity and ingenuity.

"We are delighted to be part of this significant initiative to improve healthcare in developing countries. The support of the Gates Foundation underscores the potential of the Seventh Sense approach and enables us to expand our TAP technology to aid in the delivery of better diagnoses in resource-poor areas of the world," said Doug Levinson, Ph.D., President, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Seventh Sense Biosystems, and Partner at Flagship Ventures. "Diagnostic testing is essential for most medical decision-making and, in most cases, requires access to high-quality blood samples. Our TAP technology facilitates better care by painlessly, safely and conveniently eliminating conventional barriers to blood collection, which could help facilitate access to diagnostic testing to virtually anyone, anywhere in the world."

Seventh Sense plans to use the funds to further develop enhanced TAP prototypes that can collect the higher volume blood samples that are required for a broad range of field-based diagnostic testing. Over a three year period, the company intends to optimize design, develop manufacturing methods and integrate all components into a simple device that can be used with a broad spectrum of point-of-care diagnostic devices in the developing world. The aim of the project is to create a cost effective, universal blood sampling platform which requires no external power source or technical expertise to operate.

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Sonia Nicholas
Clinical Diagnostics Editor