Hillel's Tech Corner: Taking blood with a tap

Labs and doctors spend a lot of money on blood collection – the supplies are cheap, but the labor and overhead are expensive. It’s also very inconvenient for patients, and as a result, many patients simply don’t follow up on lab testing orders.

By
May 30, 2019 22:05
3 minute read.
Hillel's Tech Corner: Taking blood with a tap

. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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A few weeks ago, as I was sitting in the audience of the aMoon Summit waiting for the presentations to begin, I did what any normal person would do. I looked left and right to see who was sitting next to me with the hopes of engaging in some small talk with someone who was undoubtedly a whole lot smarter than myself. After all, we were in a room of doctors and tech CEOs.

“Hi, I’m Hillel. Nice to meet you.”

“Hello, I’m Stuart, Chief Business Officer at Seventh Sense Biosystems.”

Being as I was at an event for one of the country’s leading life sciences VCs, there was no way I was stopping there. Besides, anything with the words “Seventh sense” in it has me curious.

“Tell me more. What does your company do?” I asked my new friend Stuart.

“Well,” he said, as he reached into his bag and took out a little white and green device that looked more like a toy than a medical device with FDA clearance, “We developed TAP, this small device that goes on your arm and totally painlessly draws blood and thereby makes the whole blood test process significantly more efficient.”

I was sold.

Think about it. It is 2019 and the process of getting a blood test in the US goes something like this: The patient goes to doctor, then the doctor orders lab testing, at which point, the patient goes to a lab on-site or nearby. The lab results are sent back to the doctor within a few days, the patient then goes back to the doctor for follow up. Highly inefficient to say the least! Not to mention the pain!

7SBio has designed and developed TAP, the world’s first push-button blood collection device. It makes the process simple, convenient and virtually painless.

The company’s mission is to enable decentralized lab testing.

The device is placed on a patient’s upper arm and with just a “tap,” blood is collected in about 2-3 minutes.

It enables more convenient and less expensive blood collection than traditional methods. The device has an FDA 510(k) clearance (for the US) and a CE Mark (for Europe).

Most people don’t realize this, but when you have your blood drawn by a phlebotomist and they collect tubes of blood, most of it is thrown away.

Central lab analyzers require much less blood than they did years ago.

The real problem is – how do you get a sample from the patient to the lab? This is what TAP enables.

TAP has applications across a wide range of testing –direct-to-consumer (DTC) lab testing, clinical trials, corporate wellness, genomic testing, etc.

Labs and doctors spend a lot of money on blood collection – the supplies are cheap, but the labor and overhead are expensive. It’s also very inconvenient for patients, and as a result, many patients simply don’t follow up on lab testing orders.

7SBio imagines a world where you use TAP at home, send it into the lab, then follow up with your doctor if needed. The company estimates that the blood collection market for lab testing is about $15-20 billion annually. Today companies are only selling the needles and tubes, but they require lots of labor and overhead to use.

The company’s investors include Flagship Pioneering, Polaris Partners, Newpath, and aMoon, as well as strategic investors LabCorp (the second largest lab in the world) and Novartis (a top pharma company).

7SBio is based in Boston and currently has 25 employees.

Fifty billion dollars are spent annually on diagnostics and consumers are demanding more from the healthcare system. The company aims to create a new standard for blood collection that increases patient compliance with testing orders, leading to faster diagnoses and better outcomes.

In 2018, the United States Anti-Doping Agency announced the launch of a pilot program for a new blood collection process using TAP designed to advance the athlete experience, enable more blood collections, and increase sample longevity.

When it comes to the global healthcare system? Blood tests are fundamental to the diagnostics process and will remain so for the foreseeable future. It’s time we saw some innovation surrounding the way blood is taken and analyzed. This company is TAPping into that need! Sorry, that pun wrote itself.

As for Stuart, that was some seriously valuable “small talk!”

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