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Israeli blood test startup Sight Diagnostics inks deal for distribution in UAE

Medical firm’s OLO device, which analyzes blood samples in minutes, will be installed in 9 Emirati medical centers, then in other areas of Gulf region, company says

Sight Diagnostics' OLO devices analyzes blood samples in minutes, the company says. (Screenshot/YouTube)
Sight Diagnostics' OLO devices analyzes blood samples in minutes, the company says. (Screenshot/YouTube)

Israel’s Sight Diagnostics, a startup that analyzes blood samples with a small device in minutes, has inked a deal to install its products in the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf countries.

The company said on Wednesday it had agreed to a distribution partnership with the Dubai-based business development firm Phoenix Capital.

Sight will provide its OLO blood analyzer machines to nine medical centers owned by Phoenix in the UAE, and in the next year, the two companies will work to expand Sight’s presence in other parts of the Gulf region. A statement from Sight said Saudi Arabia would be included, without providing details.

Most outpatient medical facilities in the UAE use outdated laboratory equipment that is not practical for on-site, or point-of-care, testing and diagnostics, Sight said in a statement.

Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah, the chairman of Phoenix Capital, said, “We chose Sight OLO because it simply meets the needs of the clinics we distribute to. With the influx of patients due to COVID-19, having access to fast, accurate fingerprick diagnostics is essential to quickly and correctly triage and treat our clinics’ patients.”

Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah, chairman of Al Naboodah Investments in Dubai, and Jon Medved, CEO of OurCrowd in Jerusalem, sign an MoU to increase business ties between startups and investors in the UAE and Israel (Courtesy/OurCrowd)

Sight said the estimated market for point-of-care diagnostics in the Middle East and Africa is expected to reach $2.85 billion by 2024. Sight said its technology is awaiting approval for point-of-care use.

Israel and the UAE signed a normalization agreement in September, allowing for commercial ties between the two countries and leading to flurry of activity between them. There was some public cooperation between the two governments in the medical field even before the normalization agreement.

An Israeli delegation of some 200 entrepreneurs and businesspeople attended the UAE’s major Gitex technology summit in Dubai this week for the first time. The weeklong conference featured two events focused on Israel-UAE collaboration.

An Israeli man films a robot as it makes him a cup of coffee at the GITEX technology summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Dec. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

In October, Phoenix signed an accord with the Jerusalem-based crowdfunding venture capital firm OurCrowd to collaborate to increase business and tech ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

It was the first alliance announced between a UAE corporation and a major Israeli venture investment firm, OurCrowd said in a statement at the time. OurCrowd backs Sight and participated in the startup’s $71 million Series D funding round in August.

Last year, Sight received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market its blood test device, which can extract the results of a standard complete blood count test from just a drop of blood in minutes.

The company’s Sight OLO blood analyzer device uses machine vision to analyze blood and to provide results for a complete blood count test from just a drop of blood, the company says. A complete blood count test — which counts red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in a patient’s sample — is one of the most basic, informative tests a doctor can conduct.

To use Sight’s product, the physician or nurse pricks the patient’s finger or draws blood from a vein, and places a drop of blood into a disposable plastic cartridge that is inserted into the OLO, which looks like a small home printer.

The machine, equipped with a camera, takes thousands of images of the millions of cells within the sample and measures 19 blood parameters in minutes. Software developed by the firm based on the machine learning algorithms analyzes the images and provides lab-grade results in a printout or via email.

In the United States, Sight OLO has been cleared by the FDA for use in some laboratories, and has not yet been cleared for point-of-care use. Outside of the United States, Sight OLO has received the European CE mark of approval, and has been approved in Australia for point-of-care use.

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