Seventh Sense, Rox Anderson and Bob Langer Startup, Seeks to Collect Blood With No Pain

5/20/10

Seventh Sense Biosystems wants to remove some of the hassle, expense, and pain of collecting blood for medical tests. The secretive startup has recently begun talks with major healthcare companies about its technology, which includes a device for collecting blood samples that almost anyone ought to be able to use without causing pain, says Doug Levinson, the firm’s co-founder and CEO.

The Cambridge, MA-based firm—which counts among its co-founders two of Boston’s medical technology gurus, R. Rox Anderson of Harvard and Bob Langer of MIT—prides itself on putting sophisticated technology into simple-to-use packages. Levinson, a partner at Flagship Ventures, managed to convince his own venture firm and the startup’s other backers at Polaris Venture Partners in Waltham, MA, and Boston-based Third Rock Ventures to invest $4.75 million in its Series A round in 2008 to get the operation rolling. The Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropic organization, is also supporting infectious disease research at the startup.

Last year at our big XSITE event, Levinson gave us a look at the startup’s unique chemistry that enables polymer particles to reveal certain colors or form into defined shapes when they come into contact with specific molecules in the blood or other bodily fluids. The technology opens the door to potential uses in the diagnostics field such as monitoring drug dosage levels or spotting infection. Yet Levinson was less clear last year how a patient’s blood would be tapped to enable the startup’s chemical invention to alert patients of certain health conditions.

Enter the startup’s TAP (touch activated phlebotomy) device, which is in development. With the push of a button, the system … Next Page »

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