Daktari Diagnostics, Backed by Gates Foundation, Raises Funds for HIV Test Study

6/17/10

Daktari Diagnostics is finding more support from both nonprofit and for-profit investors to make monitoring the health of HIV patients easy and cheap. The Cambridge, MA-based  startup has added $820,000 to its Series A round this month as it prepares to begin its first clinical trials this summer with its inexpensive technology for measuring an indicator of HIV patients’ health, company CEO Bill Rodriguez says.

The new funding boosts the firm’s first round of financing from $2.88 million to $3.7 million, which includes funding from Boston-area backers such as Hub Angels, Launchpad Venture Group, Mass Medical Angels, Norwich Ventures, Partners Innovation Fund, and individual investors. Separately, the firm has received about $600,000 from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a prominent Seattle-based nonprofits. And PATH, a global health organization based in Seattle, is funding Daktari’s first clinical trial of its diagnostic for HIV patients in Seattle this summer, Rodriguez says.

Daktari (a Swahili word for doctor) aims to fill an important gap in HIV treatment, initially in developing countries. While antiviral drugs for HIV are widely available in developing countries of Africa and Asia, patients in remote villages often lack access to labs where routine blood tests are done to gauge the strength of their immune system against the virus. So Daktari is working on an inexpensive system that can be easily used almost anywhere, without needing lab technicians to prepare blood samples with pipettes or expensive equipment as in existing tests.

Rodriguez—a physician who served as medical chief for former President Bill Clinton’s … Next Page »

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