Medical Devices

Portable cancer diagnostic device maker raising $2 million for trials in 2013

A startup is hoping to take on Veridex’s CellSearch System with a manually operated, point-of-care rapid diagnostic tool to detect and monitor cancer metastasis less intrusively and less expensively than biopsies and imaging techniques like PET scans and CT scans.

TeloVISION LLC says its disposable device analyzes blood samples in 40 minutes and isolates, identifies and quantifies circulating cancer cells shed by tumors. It can help with early detection of metastasis and monitor cancer progression and recurrence, and early prediction of therapy effectiveness and drug resistance, the company says.

Called CeloVISION, the device is part of a class of circulating tumor cell detection devices ushered in by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary Veridex LLC’s CellSearch System, which is cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for monitoring metastatic prostate, breast and colorectal cancers. Company President Bin Hong said CeloVISION will also focus on those three cancers, but will be less expensive and offer in-depth and faster analysis.


A price point wasn’t disclosed, but Hong said the device’s affordability, portability, precision and point-of-care use will be its advantages over CellSearch and others in development because it uses a method that filters tumor cells without bias. “Not every device can validate those tumor cells 100 percent,” he said.

Especially in breast cancer, research has demonstrated that the number of CTCs present in blood may indicate progression of cancer and metastasis, although CTCs usually appear in low frequencies and are hard to detect. Several other companies including DeNovo Sciences, On-Q-ity and fellow Indiana startup IVDiagnostics are developing similar tests.

According to BCC Research, these and other imaging, genetic and cellular analysis tests make up an extensive pipeline for the detection and diagnosis of cancer that’s expected to contribute to a market worth $5.3 billion in 2015.

Hong said the company wants to target a global market and believes its device could be useful to populations that can’t afford expensive tests.

TeloVISION has spent the last year doing product development and animal studies. Now it’s turning its focus to raising $2 million, which will allow it to finalize the device and conduct the first two phases of trials expected to begin in the third quarter of next year. Hong said he’s also looking for a strategic partner for the commercialization process.

Founded in 2009, TeloVISION is an affiliate of Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, Indiana.

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