What You Should Know:
– LA-based health tech startup Scanwell Health announced today that it has received a $1.6M NIH grant to accelerate the development of its rapid at-home test for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).
– CKD can be a silent killer – most people who have it are unaware until it’s too late to treat effectively. But if diagnosed early, disease progression can be slowed.
– An early version of Scanwell’s rapid at-home test is being used by researchers at several leading hospitals including Johns Hopkins, the Cleveland Clinic, and the University of Pennsylvania.
a Los Angeles-based digital health company
that makes healthcare quick and easy by offering at-home lab tests, has been
awarded a $1.6M National Institutes of Health
(NIH) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant.
NIH Grant Details
The grant will provide funds for the continued development of Scanwell’s smartphone-enabled, at-home test for chronic kidney disease (CKD). Scanwell’s test will make screening for and monitoring early CKD quick and easy. The company’s technology will allow patients to test themselves from home using only a urine test kit and their smartphones, resulting in earlier diagnosis and accelerated care.
Why it Matters
It is estimated that more than 30 million people in the US have some form of kidney disease. Due to the asymptomatic nature of early CKD, many who have it are unaware: according to the National Kidney Foundation, approximately 90% of those with CKD don’t know they have it.
Currently there is no cure for chronic kidney disease. In its final stages, hemodialysis or a kidney transplant become necessary to live. Mortality rates for hemodialysis patients are shockingly high––only 42% of patients remain alive after five years of treatment. However, when diagnosed early enough, the progression of CKD to end-stage renal failure can be slowed with medications and lifestyle interventions.
Scanwell’s at-home approach to lab testing is especially timely as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a major shift to telehealth. According to McKinsey, healthcare providers are seeing 50 to 175 times the number of patients via telehealth than before the pandemic.
“We want to live in a world where kidney disease never comes out of left field, but far too often, it does,” said Stephen Chen, Founder and CEO of Scanwell. “We developed this technology to give an early warning, which will dramatically improve the quality of life for millions of people.”
Scanwell’s At-Home Test Kit Availability
Though Scanwell’s test is not yet commercially available, an early version is currently being used by researchers at Kaiser Permanente, Johns Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic, the University of Pennsylvania and others as part of the NIH-funded Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study. The new SBIR grant will enable Scanwell to continue development and validation, as well as conduct clinical studies before submitting the test to the Federal Drug Administration for review.