AI-Based Platform for Blood Analysis
Sight Diagnostics is a blood diagnostics company.
Its first product, Parasight, is a blood analysis device that’s diagnosed malaria in nearly 1 million cases across 24 countries.
Its latest blood analyzer, “OLO,” is the first-ever device that can analyze samples within minutes using just two drops of blood. This device has already been issued 510k clearance from the FDA, and is being used to perform blood tests on patients battling Covid-19.
(Please note: This particular startup is raising funds from accredited investors only. An accredited investor is someone with a net worth of at least $1 million, or annual income of at least $200,000, or $300,000 with their spouse.)
The secret to Sight’s diagnostics devices is its patented technology. This technology, developed using nearly a decade’s worth of research, combines the latest innovations in blood sample preparation, optics, chemistry, biology, physics, and computer science. It also uses machine vision and Artificial Intelligence to improve diagnostic testing.
The creators behind these devices gained critical experience at Mobileye, a computer vision company acquired by Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) in 2017 for $15.3 billion. Now they’re seeking capital to continue the company’s growth.
Those who invest in this round will do so alongside Innovation Endeavors (an early investor in Uber), GO Capital (an investor in Milestone Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: MIST)), and Haisco (a publicly-traded Chinese healthcare company focused on R&D of therapeutic drugs. Haisco’s market cap stands at $24 billion).
According to MassDevice, a medical business journal, investment activity in the medical device industry will “influence healthcare for the next decade.”
A recent outlook report from Evaluate, a market research company, projected that the medical technology, or “medtech,” industry, will reach global sales of $595 billion by 2024. This will be led by the markets for biopharma, medical devices, and diagnostics.
M&A activity within the diagnostic industry, specifically, has been strong. Recently:
• Focus Diagnostics was acquired by competitor Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX) for $185 million.
• Alere (NYSE: ALR) acquired Epocal, makers of a blood analysis system, for $166 million.
• And Luminex acquired Nanosphere, a company focused on molecular diagnostics, for around $114 million. Nanosphere’s revenues at the time were just $21 million.
Sight Diagnostics, meanwhile, is focused on analysis for a medical test called Complete Blood Count, or “CBC.”
CBC is the world’s most common blood test. An estimated 4 billion tests are performed annually. These tests help diagnose a broad range of common medical conditions, and are included in as much as 90% of baseline testing requirements.
Typically, the test is performed at a central lab instead of at a doctor’s office or clinic. This is because central-lab testing offers higher accuracy rates.
But testing at central labs is inconvenient for the patient. Furthermore, physicians often have to wait up to a week for test results.
Sight Diagnostics solves these problems by offering the accuracy of a central lab with a test that can be performed at a place that’s convenient for the patient. With Sight’s device, results are available in minutes, not days.
Convenient testing and fast results are just two of this device’s benefits. Here are a few others:
• Less blood: Instead of a venous blood draw, Sight’s OLO device analyzes blood using just a small amount drawn from a single finger prick.
• Lab-grade accuracy: Once submitted, OLO rapidly scans samples using a built-in digital microscope and analyzes each image using AI.
• User-friendly: Anyone can use this device. It requires little to no maintenance, comes pre-calibrated, and uses disposable test cartridges.
To understand how the OLO device works, consider this: Its analyzers create a digital version of a patient’s blood by capturing around 1,000 highly detailed images from just two drops. These images are then interpreted by proprietary, fully-automated algorithms.
More specifically, each test begins with Sight’s patented process for digitizing the blood into a set of specifically-colored microscope images.
In order to digitally “take pictures” of this blood, Sight invented a sample preparation and staining method. This enables the creation of a live monolayer of blood within 15 seconds.
This monolayer is automatically formed in a disposable cartridge, which is loaded into an automated microscope that uses proprietary optical technology. This technology rapidly scans and captures the high-resolution images of blood samples.
Finally, OLO applies its machine vision algorithms to analyze these images, identifying and counting different blood cell types.
Sight has submitted 18 patents for its device and technology, and has been granted 7 of them. These patents cover the company’s sample preparation steps, monolayer formation, scanning hardware, and machine learning technology.
Sight launched its OLO device in July 2018. It has since received CE Mark approval, and FDA 510k clearance. This enables the company to sell the device to hospitals, large clinics, oncology networks, and larger physician offices.
In 2021, the company aims to receive a CLIA waiver. This will enable it to sell OLO to smaller physician offices, urgent care facilities, and pharmacies.
To generate revenue, Sight relies on a razor/razor blade business model. It generates revenue up front with one-time sales of its devices (the razor), as well as ongoing revenue from its cartridges (the razor blades).
In 2019, Sight generated an estimated $1 million in sales, and is projecting $8 million in 2020.
The company’s devices are used at Oxford University Hospital Trust, and the company has initiated a pharmacy pilot program with a major UK chain, Superdrug, to bring blood testing to its health clinics.
With funds raised, Sight aims to improve its product margins by reducing its costs of goods sold. It aims to achieve a 33% cost reduction on its analyzers and a 53% cost reduction on its test cartridges by the end of the year.
Yossi started Sight Diagnostics after spending more than five years with Mobileye. This company develops vision-based self-driving care technology and was acquired by Intel in 2017 for more than $15 billion.
While with Mobileye, Yossi worked as an algorithm developer and a project leader.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an MBA from INSEAD, a business school in France. While at INSEAD, he won first prize at the school’s prestigious Business Venture Competition. His winning proposal went on to become Sight.
Daniel has extensive experience in diagnostics, instrument development, and cell biology.
He began his career at Brown University, where he worked as a senior scientist. From there, he co-founded Digital LightCircuits, a company developing an optical filter used in the telecommunications and biology industries.
He then spent three years as a senior scientist at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. While there, he worked alongside renowned geneticist Dr. George Church.
More recently, Daniel co-founded Emulate, a biotech company.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto, a Master’s degree in Aeronautics from Stanford, and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering.
Sarah has been with Sight Diagnostics since 2014. She spent the first six years as Senior Vice President of R&D before becoming CTO.
Prior to joining, she was a marketing team leader for Natural Intelligence, an Internet services company. Before that, she studied to obtain her Master’s degree in Condensed Matter Physics from the Weizmann Institute of Science.
Earlier in her career, she served in the Israeli Defense Force. She commanded elite cyber security and intelligence special technology units.
In addition to her Master’s degree, Sarah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Physics from The Hebrew University.
Assi leads Sight Diagnostics’ growth strategy. Before joining its management team full-time, he served on the company’s advisory board.
Assi formerly served as the Data Intelligence Director at Shop Direct, the UK’s second-largest online retailer. Prior to that, he spent seven years at McKinsey & Company, a management consulting company.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Tel Aviv University and an MBA from INSEAD.
Yochay joined Sight Diagnostics to manage both the company’s algorithm and lab-workflow teams.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Master’s degree in High Energy Theoretical Physics from the Weizmann Institute of Science.
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Targeting early-stage companies that focus on the digital health industry.
A VC firm based in China that invests in early- and growth-stage companies.