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Israel’s finger-prick blood test startup Sight nabs $71 million to expand scope

Investors in Sight Diagnostics include US’s Koch Disruptive Technologies, Hong Kong-based Longliv Ventures and OurCrowd; startup hopes device will help tackle COVID-19 too

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

A nurse taking a blood test, with the OLO device developed by Sight Diagnostics in the background. (YouTube screenshot)
A nurse taking a blood test, with the OLO device developed by Sight Diagnostics in the background. (YouTube screenshot)

Israel’s Sight Diagnostics, the startup that has received a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nod for its finger-prick blood test device, said it has raised $71 million in funding from investors to expand global operations and detect a greater array of diseases, including COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

Investors in the Series D funding include Koch Disruptive Technologies, the venture arm of US multinational Koch Industries, Inc; Longliv Ventures, an arm of the Hong Kong based CK Hutchison Holdings and Israeli VC fund OurCrowd, the company said in a statement last week.

The new round brings Sight’s total funding to more than $124 million, the company said.

The company’s Sight OLO blood analyzer device uses machine vision to analyze blood and to provide results for a complete blood count test (CBC) from just a drop of blood in minutes, 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.

The Sight OLO blood testing device (YouTube Screenshot)

To use Sight’s product, the physician or nurse pricks the patient’s finger or draws blood through the 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 different 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.

To improve the efficiency of its artificial intelligence based algorithms, the company has created a wide database of blood images which it is planning to use now, not just to optimize Sight’s existing diagnostic algorithms, but also to explore new algorithms for the early detection of serious health conditions, like sepsis and cancer, as well as blood factors affecting the severity of COVID-19, the statement said.

In the United States, Sight OLO has been cleared by the FDA for use in some laboratories, the statement said, 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.

Since receiving FDA’s approval for its OLO in late 2019, Sight has continued to expand its global activities, with a specific focus on the US market. The firm has contracts with healthcare providers and distribution partners to deploy more than 1,000 analyzers over the coming years, and will use the new funds raised to meet this demand, the company said.

Sight is also working with large pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, to provide support for different treatments and therapies. The Israeli firm has also deployed its Sight OLO analyzer in healthcare facilities outside of the United States that are fighting COVID-19, including at the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer in Israel, the statement said.

“This new investment will enable Sight to substantially expand our US footprint and help usher in a new era of AI-driven diagnostics for a myriad of diseases and health conditions,” said Yossi Pollak, CEO and co-founder of Sight Diagnostics in the statement.

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