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Blood-Testing Startup Garners US$27 Million in Funding

Michael Dubrovsky and Diedrik Vermeulen

SiPhox Health’s cofounders in the company’s biochip pilot line and lab space. Chief Product Officer Michael Dubrovsky (left) holds the SiPhox Home device; CEO Diedrik Vermeulen holds a 12-inch silicon photonics wafer with the company’s sensor chips. [Image: Business Wire] [Enlarge image]

SiPhox Health—a silicon photonics company based in Burlington, MA, USA—announced on 19 July that it has raised a total of US$27 million in funding. The financing includes a seed-funding round totaling US$10 million, led by Khosla Ventures and Y Combinator with participation from other investors, and a Series A round worth US$17 million, led by Intel Capital with others’ participation.

In a press release announcing the funding, SiPhox Health said the money from the Series A capital raise will be spent on expanding its team, as the company works to earn clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration for its SiPhox Home platform. According to the company, SiPhox Home will offer a wide-range of protein and hormone tests based on a blood sample from a finger prick. SiPhox previously launched a mail-in test kit that assesses 17 biomarkers from a blood sample for inflammation, metabolic fitness and hormonal and cardiovascular health.

“SiPhox’s goal is to create category-defining health-tracking products starting with the SiPhox Home, which is a 100-fold improvement over existing blood diagnostics,” said Michael Dubrovsky, SiPhox Health’s cofounder and chief product officer, in the press release. “Eventually, our technology will enable the ultimate wearable device for measuring proteins, hormones and small molecules continuously.”

Combining photonics with health care

SiPhox Health started in 2020 as a spinout from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, by Dubrovsky and Diedrik Vermeulen. Dubrovsky is a serial entrepreneur with a background in materials chemistry and silicon photonics. Vermeulen, who serves as the company’s CEO, has a Ph.D. in photonics from Ghent University, Belgium.

SiPhox Health logo

SiPhox states on its website that it leverages silicon photonics for both miniaturization and scalability of its products. Because the company’s chips are manufactured on 12-inch silicon wafers in semiconductor foundries, the chips can be produced in the thousands per wafer. That means about a billion sensor chips created per month, according to SiPhox. On each disposable chip is a photonic immunoassay sensor array, printed with proteins that detect specific targets in blood.

The startup’s mail-in kit currently on the market—which was initially developed through R&D facilitated by the advanced-manufacturing initiative—measures the levels of various biological substances such as cortisol, hemoglobin, vitamin D, insulin, testosterone and cholesterol from a few drops of blood. The price for the kit is US$245, with discounts for quarterly or unlimited delivery subscriptions of the kit.

The next-gen product, SiPhox Home—currently offered only for “investigational” uses—is a chip-based device that incorporates integrated photonics, electronics and microfluidics, according to the company’s website. Designed for at-home use with lab-grade quality, the platform can detect protein and hormone levels in five minutes or less with a finger prick blood sample, SiPhox states.

To new frontiers

Vermeulen said the company is “leveraging the trillions of dollars invested in the semiconductor industry to enable lab-quality results in a consumer-ready, user-friendly device.”

In the press release announcing the Series A funding milestone, Vermeulen said the company is “leveraging the trillions of dollars invested in the semiconductor industry to enable lab-quality results in a consumer-ready, user-friendly device.”

In addition, Srini Ananth, managing director at Intel Capital who will be joining SiPhox’s board of directors, said, “The rapid growth in telehealth and home health sectors necessitates a new paradigm in diagnostics.”

“Investments in silicon photonics over the past two decades for the datacom and telecom industry have enabled the massive scaling of the internet and cloud computing. This has set the stage for startups like SiPhox to apply silicon photonics technology to new frontiers,” Ananth continued. “We are highly impressed with their technology and approach to tackling this opportunity.”

Publish Date: 31 July 2023

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