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Atomo Diagnostics Receives $6 Million To Launch Its HIV Test In Emerging Markets

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The company hopes that its AtomoRapid testing platform will be a more flexible replacement for currently-available lateral flow rapid tests for the detection of HIV and other infectious diseases.

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February 3, 2016 | by Sarah Massey, M.Sc.

According to a press release issued by Australia-based test developer, Atomo Diagnostics, the company has received $6 million in loan money from the Global Health Investment Fund (GHIF) in support of their self-diagnostic for HIV infection. The private fund is associated with some big names in the pharmaceutical industry – including Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Merck – along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The company hopes that its AtomoRapid testing platform will be a more flexible replacement for currently-available lateral flow rapid tests for the detection of HIV and other infectious diseases. Atomo says that current tests are overly complicated and are restricted to laboratory use only.

The press release states that Atomo – with funding from the GHIF – “[has] made global access commitments to support and facilitate the launch and commercialization of Atomo's professional use and self-test products in low and middle-income countries to ensure that they achieve the greatest possible global impact.” The AtomoRapid – launched in 2014 – collects 10 microliters of a patient’s blood and uses on-board analysis to provide an HIV diagnosis in only 15 minutes.



“Young South Africans surveyed at the Foundation's mobile and youth clinics preferred self-testing with the Atomo product over traditional HIV test kits,” said Dr. Linda-Gail Bekker, executive director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation and president of the International AIDS Society. “We urgently need innovation that will facilitate the UNAIDS ambitious goal of 90 percent of all HIV positive people knowing their status by 2020. GHIF's investment in Atomo has laid a foundation towards that 90 percent goal through HIV self-testing.”

The AtomoRapid platform is also capable of diagnosing and distinguishing between different strains of malaria. In addition, Atomo is currently working on the development of a diagnostic for hepatitis C.

“Our mission has always been to provide the market with products that meet the needs of users,” said John Kelly, CEO of Atomo. “We set out to develop a solution to obsolete the current generation 'bits in a box' test kit format, responsible for hundreds of thousands of errors and incorrect diagnoses globally each year. The investment from GHIF not only enables us to scale up our global health activities, it is also a clear endorsement of our innovative AtomoRapid technology as a preferred solution for rapid diagnostic testing.”

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