, Hong Kong

Bill Gates-backed biotech in diagnostic push

PHASE Scientific's product portfolio has expanded to include major infectious diseases such as hepatitis and influenza.

Biotech startup PHASE Scientific develops point-of-care tests and sample preparation tools such as molecular diagnostics to increase the concentration of low-concentrated target molecules for easier detection. Initially developed at the University of California, Los Angeles department of bioengineering, the startup’s technologies allow doctors to create diagnosis based on its findings.

Its lead product for point-of-care testing is a self-test that assesses the risk of cavities, and the product portfolio has since expanded to include major infectious diseases such as hepatitis and influenza. On the other hand, its lead product for sample preparation focuses on extraction of circulating cell-free DNA in liquid biopsy.

In April, the startup raised US$13m from US government agencies, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and Prof. Joseph Tam, chairman of Diagcor, Hong Kong’s largest independent laboratory. It plans to use the funding proceeds to obtain regulatory approval and develop new clinical diagnostics.

“Our core technology can make any diagnostics better by enriching the target biomolecules of interest and providing samples with better quality and integrity by using proprietary liquid “phase” systems. That was where the company name PHASE Scientific came from,”Ricky Chiu, founder of PHASE Scientific, told Hong Kong Business, adding that its wide range of customers come from the general consumer to major hospitals.

It’s also forming a collaboration with MD Anderson Cancer. Chiu also stated that the startup plans to raise another $30-50m by end-2019.

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