Sudbury

Sudbury company Verv Technologies develops at-home blood test

A Sudbury-based medical technology company plans to have its home blood tests available for purchase by next spring.

Verv Technologies says it can provide blood test results in 15 minutes

Sudbury-based Verv Technologies plans to have its at-home blood testing technology available for purchase by next spring. Blood samples are placed on disposable chips and go into an analyzer for results on a smartphone in 15 minutes, the company says. (Supplied by Verv Technologies)

A Sudbury-based medical technology company says an affordable home blood test system it has developed will be available for purchase by Spring 2022.

Verv Technologies has developed a blood test device that it says anyone can use from their home. The company says a user can get their cholesterol level, for example, on their smartphone in as little as 15 minutes.

Victoria Coleman, Verv's vice-president of business development, said the company's "secret sauce" is patent-pending technology that can separate blood plasma from whole blood in a small device.

"It's looking to transform how people can take their blood and they'll take their blood from their homes," Coleman said. "So it will enable individuals to be able to do their own blood testing from their home and have results within 15 minutes to their smartphone."

Earlier this month Verv received a $500,000 grant from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation to develop and commercialize its technology.

Coleman said the company expects to complete its prototype in October, and have it available to consumers in 2022.

Once the technology is available, Verv will sell disposable chips for between $50 and $90, that collect a few pinpricks of blood. The chip is inserted in a $399 analyzer that will separate the plasma from whole blood and send the results to the user's phone.

"We can test for many things that are commonly desired by the consumer," Coleman said. "Things such as your cholesterol and your vitamin D, your thyroid hormones. You could test inflammatory markers."

Blood-testing technology advances

While such tests can be done at a lab, Coleman said more people want to manage their health from home. In markets such as the United States, 33 per cent of people don't have access to health insurance, she said, and cannot access lab tests as easily.

In 2018 American company Theranos made international headlines when the United States Security and Exchange Commission charged it with fraud. The company had made false claims that it had devised blood tests that required only very small amounts of blood and could be performed from home. 

While that wasn't possible in 2018, Coleman said the technology has come a long way in three years. 

"What Theranos showed us was with the billions they raised in value that the desire is there," she said. "There's no question that the proof of concept as far as wanting this has been confirmed."

She added the American Food and Drug Administration is now much more rigorous when granting its seal of approval to at-home blood tests.

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