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Israel’s PixCell to deploy blood test analyzers in Australia’s New South Wales

HemoScreen hematology devices enable complete blood count testing to be done on site in a few seconds; devices already used in Denmark, Sweden

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

The HemoScreen blood test analyzer device developed by PixCell Medical (Courtesy)
The HemoScreen blood test analyzer device developed by PixCell Medical (Courtesy)

PixCell Medical, an Israeli maker of point-of-care diagnostic devices, will be deploying its blood test analyzers in small labs and large emergency departments without onsite labs in New South Wales (NSW), a state on the east coast of Australia.

The firm will be working in collaboration with NSW Health Pathology, the provider of public pathology services for the NSW government, to deploy PixCell’s HemoScreen hematology analyzers, which provide rapid, accurate complete blood count (CBC) testing, the Israeli startup said in a statement.

PixCell has worked closely with NSW Health Pathology over the past year to evaluate the HemoScreen device, and together they are now ready to roll out the technology in facilities across the state, the statement said.

HemoScreen is a low-cost portable hematology analyzer that can perform a complete blood count at the point of care, using disposable cartridges that need no maintenance or calibration. HemoScreen requires a drop of blood from the finger, and within five minutes analyzes 20 standard CBC parameters, including red blood cells and five types of white blood cell. It identifies anomalous cells and hemoglobin levels. Point-of-care is a term used for the point at which a clinician can deliver solutions and products while with the patient.

The blood that is drawn is inserted into a cartridge, which is then inserted into a reader.

The HemoScreen relies on viscoelastic focusing, a physical phenomenon discovered at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, in which as blood flows through a micro-channel, some cells migrate to the center of flow and align perfectly into a single cell layer. This brings them in focus and enables them to be optically detected and analyzed. Identification and classification of the cells is achieved using machine learning and machine vision algorithms that provide “core lab quality results,” the firm said.

Australia will be the third country, after Sweden and Denmark, to deploy HemoScreen devices. The device received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration in 2018.

The collaboration with NSW Health Pathology includes the installation of a large number of devices that provide the full CBC test, flagging for abnormalities. NSW Health will initially deploy the HemoScreen devices in small labs, in large emergency departments without onsite labs, and as an upgrade for some existing technology. The use of the devices in oncology clinics and other settings will be assessed at a later stage, the statement said.

“We recognize the need to simplify real-time blood testing and are proud to work with NSW Health Pathology to increase accessibility to POC diagnostics,” said Avishay Bransky, CEO and co-founder of PixCell Medical. “HemoScreen delivers accurate readings of 20 standard blood count parameters, which are routinely used to check the overall health status of a patient.”

CBC testing has recently been found valid to monitor the severity of COVID-19 and the progression of the disease, Bransky added.

The deployment follows the approval HemoScreen got in October from the Therapeutics Goods Administration, Australia’s regulatory body for therapeutic goods.

In 2018, PixCell was one of the winners of a life-sciences competition held by the Israel Innovation Authority to identify companies developing breakthrough technologies in the life sciences.

The Yokne’am Illit, Israel-based startup founded by Bransky and Max Herzberg in 2008 has raised $7.9 million, according to the database of Start-Up Nation Central, which tracks the industry.

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