While the country is struggling with the COVID-19 epidemic, home health tests, checkups and diagnoses have never been as important as they are today. Companies like LetsGetChecked fill a void in a U.S. health care system affected by the outbreak.
The increase in demand for the company's services has led to a steady increase in investor interest and LetsGetChecked is one of many home health and remote diagnostics companies that raise capital during the pandemic.
The company's new $ 71 million funding is not just about the services the company can provide during the COVID 19 epidemic. Now that more and more Americans have access to home health services, they will likely continue to use them for their convenience and ease of use, said Peter Foley, CEO of LetsGetChecked.
“People are very focused on COVID-19. (But) we see tendencies to increase in everything else, ”said Foley. “This situation has definitely legitimized the room for home diagnosis. We see peaks in such tests. We see everything that needs to be monitored. "
Most consumers avoid doctors, hospitals, and clinics for concern about the epidemic, and this is pushing them to use telemedicine and remote testing services, Foley said.
And the company has stepped up to address the outbreak of the corona virus itself. The company, which has a manufacturing facility in Queens that manufactures its own test kits, was not impressed by the supply chain issues that other companies have encountered, said Foley. And LetsGetChecked has a certified laboratory facility in which it can carry out its own tests.
The company is currently offering both a serological test (sourced from a Korean laboratory and approved by the FDA) and a PCR test (from ThermoFisher) for SARS-CoV-2 and intends to expand the scope of its tests. The LetsGetChecked tests include a rapid (antibody) serology test for results within 15 minutes, followed by a PCR-based test in which a swab sample is taken from a patient and later processed in LetsGetChecked's highly complex CLIA laboratory in Monrovia, California must become. the company said. Initially, the tests were done for first responders and those most at risk of the disease, but the population the company is testing is growing as the virus's spread slows.
"We were lucky enough to be able to help people now," says Foley.
LetsGetChecked is not the only startup in the development and distribution of home test services for the corona virus. Everlywell and Scanwell Health are two other startups that have also developed and sold home test kits.
LetsGetChecked started collecting donations four months ago, and even then, in the days before COVID-19 hit the American shores, the fundraising environment had worsened, Foley said.
In the days before the disease reached epidemic proportions in the United States, LetsGetChecked demonstrated its ability to test for cancer screening, sexual health, fertility, and pharmacogenomic tests at home or through partner retailers.
Users can buy tests and collect samples at home before sending them to the LetsGetChecked facility. The company connects its customers with state-approved doctors to discuss abnormal results and determine a course of treatment
The company's initial pitch and promise of a huge remote diagnostics market was enough to convince Illumina Ventures, who led the round with HLM Venture Partners. Other new investors were Deerfield, CommonFund Capital and Angeles Investment Advisors. Former investors Transformation Capital, Optum Vnetures and Qiming Venture Partners USA also participated.
For Illumina Ventures, the remote test service LetsGetChecked can serve as a channel for some of the tests under development at the other companies in the company's health portfolio, said Nick Naclerio, founding partner of Illumina Ventures and new director on the LetsGetChecked board.
"Many companies that develop innovative new tests face challenges in building a channel for the broader market," said Naclerio. "Here is a company that is looking to build a future patient-initiated test channel that the world needs and that is likely to be synergistic with some companies that are testing next-generation. "
These would be companies like Serimmune, which develops tests for imaging the human immune system, or Genome Medical, which applies the latest understanding of the human genome to treatments for patients. The company also invests in cancer screening companies such as Grail who want to offer early diagnosis for cancer.
Naclerio also sees a dramatic change in consumer behavior on the horizon in the world after COVID-19.
"COVID is a huge need to test for infectious diseases at home or for infectious diseases at work," he said. “This will remove many of the obstacles that have slowed the introduction of telemedicine in the past. This gives LetsGetChecked a chance, even if we have passed the peak of the curve. There will be a lasting effect. "