Why: Simple, fast diagnostic tests can help physicians track disease-related markers.
Key innovation: Its microfluidic device for doctors' offices can quickly detect elevated protein levels associated with prostate cancer.
Claros uses microfluidics technology, which allows for the manipulation of fluids on a chip at microscopic scales, to develop inexpensive, easy-to-use diagnostic devices that can be deployed at the point of care, whether in a doctor's office or at a patient's bedside. Tests that get results quickly without having to be sent out to a lab for analysis would allow physicians to track certain disease-related markers more often and more thoroughly.
The market for point-of-care diagnostics could potentially be huge because of the benefits it offers. Patients benefit from getting results at the time of their visit; doctors and insurers benefit from a less complicated process with less overhead.
Claros's platform consists of a small blood-collector device, a disposable cartridge, and a toaster-sized reader. The technology can be adapted to test for any number of diseases, but its first commercial product is designed to detect elevated protein levels associated with prostate cancer. The company's technology is also being used in a pilot project in Africa that provides testing for sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, HIV, and hepatitis C.
Challenges and Next Steps:
Claros's prostate-cancer test has been approved for use in Europe, and the company is currently seeking approval to market it from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.