SiPhox Health: Convenient, Lab-Quality Home Testing at 100x Lower Cost

An at-home blood diagnostic device that mimics the tech of large labs on a miniaturized scale for cheaper, faster, and more accessible results

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Alumni Ventures portfolio company SiPhox Health is leveraging biochemistry and photonic-chip technology to deliver at-home blood diagnostics that offers an effective alternative to expensive, time-consuming lab testing.

According to the CDC, six out of 10 Americans live with a chronic disease, and ~40% have two or more. Biomarker testing, which uses blood, fluid, or tissue samples to spot biological changes, is a powerful tool to help patients manage chronic illnesses. The challenge is that it’s not practical for many patients to test frequently. Healthcare professionals must perform biomarker testing in a medical facility, which can be inconvenient and expensive.

SiPhox addresses these barriers with at-home blood diagnostics hardware that tracks biomarkers to identify disease risk and monitor treatment. Whereas competing technologies use paper strips or electro-chemistry, SiPhox actually mimics the tech of large labs but on a miniaturized scale to fit all the optics onto silicon chips — at an accessible price.

Investments in silicon photonics over the past two decades have enabled massive scaling of the internet and cloud computing. SiPhox Co-Founder and CEO Diedrik Vermeulen played a crucial role in developing the first coherent silicon photonic transceiver chip, responsible for a significant share of global internet traffic. Now at SiPhox, he says “we are leveraging the trillions of dollars invested in the semiconductor industry to enable lab-quality results in a consumer-ready, user-friendly device.”

Revolutionizing Blood Diagnostics

SiPhox is now working towards FDA clearance for its flagship product SiPhox Home. The device will offer a broad menu of proteins and hormone tests from a finger prick blood sample and produce results in under five minutes.. It’s also significantly lighter (1 pound vs. 500 pounds) and cheaper ($300 vs. $500,000) than industry lab equipment. In the meantime, the company has launched a mail-in blood collection kit that measures 17 biomarkers for inflammation, metabolic, hormonal, and cardiovascular health.

The onset of the COVID pandemic — when testing methods and distribution fell far short of demand — confirmed for Vermeulen and SiPhox Co-Founder Michael Dubrovsky just how much the medical diagnostics industry needed disruption.

“The reality is that this is mainly due to the lack of fast-paced innovation and general lack of focus on cost, form factor, and scalability in the diagnostics industry over the last several decades,” Dubrovsky wrote.

“SiPhox’s goal is to create category-defining health tracking products starting with the SiPhox Home, which is a 100-fold improvement over existing blood diagnostics. Eventually, our technology will enable the ultimate wearable device for measuring proteins, hormones, and small molecules continuously.”
Michael Dubrovsky
SiPhox Health Co-Founder, CPO
SiPhox’s interdisciplinary team is bringing a next-generation optical chip-based biosensor to market.

What We Liked About SiPhox

Castor Ventures (for the MIT community) sponsored our investment in SiPhox. Among the company’s strengths identified by Castor in its due diligence:

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    Multiple Fast-Growing Markets

    Quoting from Castor’s diligence report: “We believe SiPhox is well positioned to tap into several large and fast-growing markets totaling nearly $200 billion over the next ten years — including continuous health monitoring (~$30B), broader biomarker testing (~$75B), and employee wellness (~$75B).”
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    Sticky Product & Network Effects

    Customer satisfaction with the step change between the status quo marketplace experience and Knowdes’ platform is reflected in results: no churn and impressive net revenue retention. And given the growing number of buyers, sellers are unlikely to leave the platform, producing attractive flywheel benefits.
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    Experience to Execute

    The SiPhox team brings industry-leading expertise in tech, engineering, and miniaturization of silicon photonics. In addition, the team has a track record of successful tech exits such as Acacia’s $820 million IPO (and later purchased by Cisco for $4.98 billion) and QuantumSi’s $1.36 billion exit.

How We Are Involved

In July 2023, SiPhox Health announced it had closed a $17 million Series A, bringing its total financing to $27 million. Alumni Ventures joined the raise alongside lead investor Intel Capital — a highly strategic investor given its focus on chip manufacturing and SiPhox’s expertise in silicon photonics. Previous seed round lead Khosla Ventures also invested again, bringing highly relevant tech and strategic expertise in the space. The new funding will enable team expansion as SiPhox Health works towards FDA clearance for its SiPhox Home platform.

AV funds participating in the round alongside Castor Ventures were Emmet Street Ventures (for the UVA community), Expo Ventures (for the USC community), Healthtech Fund, Total Access Fund, and Triphammer Ventures (for the Cornell community), with additional funds provided via an AV Syndication.

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