LabNow, Inc., developer of point-of-care diagnostic systems, announces that it has raised $20 million in Series B equity financing from a syndicate of private and venture investors led by Dallas based Sammons Enterprises. Funds will be used to complete late-stage development and launch the company’s initial products, the CD4Now™ BioChip and Analyzer devices, which will be used in staging and monitoring the treatment of HIV/AIDS patients worldwide. In addition to Sammons Enterprises, Series A investors Austin Ventures and a group of other private investors will also be participating.
LabNow’s novel sensor technology system offers the potential to analyze blood and other fluid samples simply, rapidly and economically. It will have immediate applicability as a rapid diagnostic platform in the healthcare field, with numerous future applications beyond the medical field, including homeland security, environmental testing, and food safety.
Robert W. Korba, CEO of Sammons Enterprises, added, "The health sciences sector is an emerging investment interest for Sammons. This technology platform has a broad array of applications. We are impressed with the promise it shows to make a positive impact on health care around the world. LabNow presents a compelling case to focus on CD4 testing in third world countries.”
"The support of such an impressive group of specialized international investors including Sammons is a tremendous recognition of LabNow’s leadership among point of care diagnostic companies and backs our efforts in the research and development of innovative diagnostics as we move toward the completion of other tests of our broad platform. Their experience will contribute to the future development of LabNow into a world-class diagnostic company" said Rick Hawkins, the company’s president and chief executive officer.
The patented diagnostic system features an automated reader and assay-specific single-use, disposable biochips. Using a single drop of whole blood, the simple-to-use CD4Now test will produce accurate CD4 cell counts in less than 15 minutes. These results are used in clinical staging of HIV infection and monitoring a patient’s immune status in response to HIV/AIDS. CD4 counts are essential to an HIV infected patient’s lifetime medical care. The LabNow device could be used in physician offices, regional laboratories or rural clinics in developing countries. The CD4Now product offers significant advantages over current expensive, central laboratory measurement methods, enabling clinicians to determine simply, rapidly and accurately when antiretroviral therapies are needed for their patients, and whether the medications are leading to immune system improvements. “With this funding, LabNow can take another step toward helping to solve the global AIDS crisis and much more.” said former Senator and current LabNow Board member, Bill Bradley.
The technology was originally conceived and developed in the laboratory of Dr. John McDevitt of The University of Texas at Austin, and has been licensed exclusively to LabNow for all applications. In fall of 2006, Dr. McDevitt was awarded a $6 million grant to study other saliva-based medical uses for the platform technology. The results of this research convey to LabNow for commercialization.
In a recent study performed at the University of Minnesota, results from the LabNow system were shown to favorably compare to expensive, central laboratory flow cytometer systems. Principal investigator, Professor of Infectious Disease, Timothy Schacker, MD remarked that the LabNow system “would provide a significant improvement in obtaining CD4 test results in my office and, particularly, in resource scarce regions of the world where the inability to obtain timely CD4 results greatly reduces effective medical treatment”.
About LabNow (www.LabNow.com)
LabNow has developed the LabNow System to conduct healthcare-related diagnostics at the point-of-care. The company’s first product application currently in late-stage development will rapidly and accurately produce CD4 count results to aid in the assessment of HIV/AIDS patients. The platform technology is readily expandable to other medical diagnostic and other non-medical applications.
About Sammons Enterprises (www.sammonsenterprises.com)
Sammons Enterprises is a multi-faceted, global holding corporation that owns and operates businesses across a diverse range of industries. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, in the United States, with assets approaching $40 billion, Sammons ranks among the largest privately owned companies in the world.
About Austin Ventures (www.austinventures.com)
Austin Ventures has been working with talented entrepreneurs to build valuable companies since 1979. With $2.4 billion under management, AV is the most active venture capital firm in Texas, and one of the most established in the nation. With a focus on enterprise software, computer and communications hardware, and business services, Austin Ventures invests at all stages of company development, from $100,000 “planned experiments”
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LabNow, Inc., seeks to improve global health and safety through the deployment of simple, rapid, point-of-need laboratory testing. LabNow's technology has the capability to automate complex fluid analysis quickly, accurately and at lower cost than current methods. The microfluidics sensor technology has broad uses in medical, homeland security, environmental chemistry and process engineering applications.