As the saying goes, there’s a first time for everything. We sure have learned this lesson the hard way over the past few weeks. This article is a first, too. It is the first time I am featuring a company in this column for the second time. I covered Todos Medical and its AI-powered early detection of cancer and Alzheimer’s back in April 2019.
Todos Medical Ltd. is an in-vitro diagnostic company engaged in the development of blood tests for the early detection of a variety of cancers, and also has initiated the development of blood tests for neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease through Breakthrough Diagnostics, Inc., its joint venture with Amarantus Bioscience Holdings, Inc.
So why am I revisiting Todos again? Aren’t there enough companies to feature in this column that I don’t need to do a rerun? Yes, there are. Actually, the number of Israeli companies that I consider to be impactful (which is the nature of this column) is quite literally endless. So why, then? Because this company and its management team made an incredibly responsible decision to double down on COVID-19.
Let me explain.
Todos's efforts to commercialize its breast cancer screenings in Europe and Israel are continuing. They expect to see sales initiate in Romania at the end of Q2. That is not stopping.
However, since I last covered this company, a lot has happened. In January, Todos purchased an option to acquire Provista Diagnostics. Provista has developed a blood-based breast cancer screen that obtained Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) approval in the US. The test has a net present value (NPV) of 98.4.
The logic in acquiring Provista is that with its high NPV, along with the fact that it has an existing CLIA-approved lab in Atlanta, Todos can get to market faster, as well as continue to develop the Todos test easier and quicker by utilizing patient data from results of Provista future testing. Ultimately, Todos believes that the Provista acquisition will get them to market quicker and enable them to develop the Todos test (which is far less expensive) at a rapid pace.Time will tell.
When the virus hit and its enormity was seen, Todos contemplated trying to develop a test for the virus based on its proprietary technology, as they believe the TBIA (Todos Biochemical Infrared Analyses) platform of Todos can actually screen for most any neurodegenerative disease.
Unfortunately, the amount of time it would take and the resources needed to develop this test on their own was too much for the company in its current structure.
However, as Todos now has a CLIA lab functioning in Atlanta, they wanted to join the fight against corona and try to help by providing testing to as many people as possible. As you surely know by now, tests are in high demand and very low supply, especially in the US.
IN RESPONSE, Todos utilized all its resources and reached out to many partners and companies in its corporate rolodex that have developed COVID-19 testing.
To date, Todos has signed formal agreements with two companies (3D Biomed and Shanghai Liangrun) and additional distribution agreements with them for the US and Israel.
In addition to working with companies already developing the tests, Todos understood that it possesses the resources and expertise to do more.
The team is talking to additional manufacturers of COVID-19 testing kits, and negotiations are ongoing as I write this.
The company has purchased both swab testing as well as blood tests. All tests will first undergo a validation trial at their clinical Lab in Atlanta. Once the validation is completed to satisfaction, they will be selling the tests to the public. They are simultaneously working on agreements to sell the tests in various states and to iron out all logistics involved.
Additionally, just this week, Todos announced a new partnership with Emerald Organic, a diversified health sciences company which includes cannabidiol- (CBD) focused products. According to the details of the joint venture, Emerald, along with its private equity partner Bedrock Group Holdings, LLC, will contribute financing, distribution know-how, and assistance in navigating the US healthcare and regulatory landscape. Todos will be responsible for securing regulatory approval from the US Food & Drug Administration for the testing kits.
There are many challenges in beating this nasty virus and coming out stronger on the other side, but tests and their availability should not, at least in theory, be one of them. The US has been doing everything it can to ramp up testing and over the past week. It has increased significantly, especially in places where corona has hit hard, such as New York State. However, in order to avoid the situation that has tragically already occured in Italy, where limited availability means doctors have to literally choose who to test, thereby ignoring older patients and those without confirmed contact or elevated risk, more tests have to become available and fast.
Maybe this is my way of grasping at any optimism I can find, but learning that a company that has developed world-leading expertise in early detection of cancer and other conditions has made the decision to pivot, or least allocate significant resources to the very pressing COVID-19 pandemic, is refreshing and in a way reassuring. To know we have the brightest minds on this working around the clock to get us tested and ultimately treated gives me reason to hope that everything will eventually be OK.
I think we can all agree that what we need more of right now is hope and optimism. Hats off to Todos for taking up the baton on this one and showing global responsibility when the world needs it most.