Six out of 10 Americans are living with a chronic disease, but access to convenient and low-cost health testing isn’t always available for patients, and bottlenecks still exist with current testing approaches.
SiPhox Health wants to change that through more advanced blood testing using silicon photonic chip technology to put a lab-grade health testing device in every home. This is the semiconductor technology that transformed internet connectivity.
MIT scientists Diedrik Vermeulen and Michael Dubrovsky started the company in 2020 and were part of the Y Combinator summer cohort that year. At the time, the Burlington, Massachusetts–based company was developing a circuit board for optical chips with a goal of replacing refrigerator-sized diagnostic machines with a tiny chip. Its first product was a $1 COVID-19 test on a disposable cartridge.
CEO Vermeulen explained that other at-home blood-testing technologies focused on the paper strip and other collection methods that are the less expensive components, rather than on the testing device. SiPhox Health, instead, started with the more expensive side — the lab instrument.
“Our approach is to miniaturize all the components onto silicon chips,” he told TechCrunch. “Silicon photonics technology leaves the instrument completely untouched, so we inherit all the functionality, multiplexing capability, sensitivity and so on, and bring that to the consumer.”
And, rather than rely on one blood test per year to assess someone’s health, SiPhox Health enables patients and their doctors to get lots of data points to better help make real-time health decisions.
The company offers a test kit and tests for 17 biomarkers, essentially your basic panel, in the areas of inflammation, cardiovascular health, metabolic fitness and hormone balance. Sold on a subscription basis, kits are $95 with a monthly membership of $16 that includes perks like access to continuous glucose monitors and personalized biohacking tools.
Currently, it is running the tests using mail-in samples and conventional technology. It is working on the development of an at-home device, but it is not on the market yet, Dubrovsky said in an interview. The price of its future offering, which will include the SiPhox Home product, will be subscription-based at less than $100 per month, the company said.
SiPhox Health is working toward getting the SiPhox Home product through U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance in the next year. The platform will offer proteins and hormone tests from a finger-prick blood sample, with results in five minutes or less. The company is gearing up to do a case study on this with thousands of people.
The diagnostic market has made a big shift to at-home, driven by companies like Everlywell and supplemented by startups all over the world, including Oova, Simple HealthKit, Senzo, Healthtracka, TBD Health, Starling Medical and Hormona, which have attracted venture capital attention in recent years.
SiPhox Health’s work is also being boosted by a $27 million round of funding that includes $10 million in seed and $17 million in new Series A capital. The Series A round, which closed recently, was led by Intel Capital with participation from Khosla Ventures, Kortex Ventures, Alumni Ventures, Metaplanet, Shorewind Capital, LongeVC, Overlap Holdings and Duke Capital Partners.
Khosla Ventures and Y Combinator co-led the seed investment that also included Metaplanet, Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative, Rsquared, Vituity, Paul Buchheit, Balaji Srinivasan, Bob Lee, and Longevity Tech Fund.
The Series A funding will also enable SiPhox Health to expand its team of 30 people in the areas of biology, scientists, engineers and mechanical engineers and expand its current business offerings.
“We’re currently growing exponentially, from when we initially started to learn about the market and blood testing,” Dubrovsky said. “We are now finding early signs of chronic diseases, like pre-diabetes, in about 20% of all the tests we run.”
Meanwhile, with the investment in SiPhox Health, Intel Capital remains a busy corporate venture capital firm lately, investing in Figure earlier this week and recently in AI-enabled sensing tech company MatrixSpace and data workflow automation company Alkymi.
As part of the investment, Intel Capital managing director Srini Ananth joins SiPhox Health’s board of directors.
“The rapid growth in telehealth and home health sectors necessitates a new paradigm in diagnostics. SiPhox Health’s fast and accurate at-home testing is poised to change the patient journey for employers, pharma, insurers and health systems,” Ananth said in a written statement. “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. We are highly impressed with their technology and approach to tackling this opportunity.”