With lead investment from Puffin Partners, the Ontario, Canada-based company is taking lifesaving blood-testing technology to low- and middle-income countries
TORONTO, March 3, 2015 — ChipCare Corporation, a University of Toronto start-up company commercializing a handheld, blood-testing platform for HIV and other infectious and non-communicable diseases has closed a $5.045 million Series A financing to bring its first-generation product to market while further developing the platform’s next generation products.
The Wall Street Journal‘s Venture Capital Dispatch blog, Yonge Street Media, BetaKit and PEHub covered this announcement, along with the University of Toronto’s news site and a follow-up BetaKit article on how smartphones and start-ups are increasing access to healthcare. Information about past ChipCare investment rounds and other company information is available in our ChipCare news archive.
Insufficient access in remote health settings to simple, accurate and affordable diagnostic tests makes it difficult to provide timely, evidence-based clinical care. Current technology within central laboratories cannot fulfill the existing need in remote health settings, including community level health facilities, remote communities, emergency departments, ICUs and doctors’ offices. The result is millions of preventable deaths from infectious and non-communicable diseases globally, reduced economic growth, and limited human development.
ChipCare’s technology will provide simple-to-use, mobile, lab-quality blood testing in remote health settings. The company’s first HIV-related test, targeted at linking people with HIV to appropriate treatments, is scheduled to hit the market in late 2016. The company is developing other products that leverage unique attributes of ChipCare’s technology.
Puffin Partners, LP, of Dallas, Texas led the financing round, which includes existing investors MaRS Innovation and Maple Leaf Angels, and new investors, including the Winfield Venture Group, Epic Capital, and additional Canadian and U.S. Angel investors.
“ChipCare has the opportunity to bring real value to the diagnostics marketplace, especially for remote health settings,” says Charles E. Gale, co-manager of Puffin’s General Partner. “ChipCare’s technology is powerful, flexible and, when implemented, is positioned to make a significant global health impact.”
“This investment will allow ChipCare to get through clinical trials, regulatory approval and to enter the HIV market allowing people living in remote settings to access life-saving HIV treatment,” says James Fraser, ChipCare’s CEO. “We are grateful to all of our investors to date who are committed to building a profitable and impactful Canadian diagnostics company, and we are eager to make a difference in patient care globally.”
Prior to this Series A investment, ChipCare raised $3.25 million to develop its platform. Previous investors were led by Grand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada, which provided $1 million through a Transition to Scale investment and helped catalyze matching investments from a wide range of sources including Maple Leaf Angels, MaRS Innovation, the University of Toronto’s Connaught Seed Fund, the Government of Canada through the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) and the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program (SR&ED), and the Government of Ontario through investment by Ontario Centres of Excellence and support by MaRS Discovery District and ventureLAB/Genesis.
ChipCare’s platform technology was commercialized out of Professor Stewart Aitchison’s research laboratory at the University of Toronto and is led by ChipCare’s multidisciplinary team including James Fraser, James Dou, Rakesh Nayyar and Dr. Lu Chen.
“ChipCare is one of the most promising technologies MaRS Innovation has seen emerging from the University of Toronto’s research community,” says Dr. Raphael Hofstein, president and CEO. “With clear competitive positioning, a strong management team and a solid intellectual property portfolio, ChipCare is well-positioned to succeed in transforming the way we diagnose and treat diseases in the developing world.”
“Ontario’s capacity to compete globally depends on how well we harness our entrepreneurial strengths,” says the Honourable Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure. “Companies like ChipCare are transforming their discoveries into innovative products, which will help create opportunities abroad, attract investment and help grow our economy.”
“This is a vital new technology for public health,” said Professor Vivek Goel, Vice President, Research and Innovation at the University of Toronto. “HIV/AIDS is still one of the world’s most challenging health issues. The ChipCare technology will have an important impact globally on getting people in remote locations the timely testing and treatment they need. This investment in ChipCare is also a clear indication that the Canadian innovation sector is growing and vibrant.”
ChipCare is a Toronto-based company producing life-saving diagnostics for infectious and non-communicable diseases in remote health settings with a mobile, simple-to-use & lab quality blood-testing platform.