Disrupting a $50 Billion industry
Atomo Diagnostic HIV Rapid
After seeing first hand the trauma of long periods in hospital and countless blood tests, leaving a loved one bruised and depressed, John Kelly wanted to do something about it.
He shared his dream with us, to improve the way blood was collected and to build a successful medical device company in doing so. It resonated with us and we were in.
Pivoting to the right opportunity
The challenge was big and broad with blood collection required for many reasons, in many environments and involving many groups. We worked to understand what was meaningful to patients, clinicians and everyone involved in the pathology process.
We explored problems and developed solutions, but hit a dead end. Until studying industry trends where we uncovered a strange paradox. While established diagnostic companies were investing in optimisation of lab sensitivity and specificity of their tests, 1 in 3 HIV positive patients tested negative at local African clinics. How was this possible? We saw this as our opportunity to pivot and make a difference.
Putting it to the test
In-field testing showed us that existing point of care tests took a “bits in a box” approach, which allowed for plenty of usability errors. Many “false negatives” meant those affected could not get the lifesaving treatment readily available. This was the opportunity. Remove the usability issues and give people access to the accuracy of the tests optimised in the labs.
There was not much to start with, so we invested and worked to bring further investment, all the while developing and testing the product with the people that mattered. Working in all areas on its journey from discovery through to manufacturing and regulatory approval.
To be viable we had to make an impact in the market which needed it most, which had huge issue, the cost. Clever design was not going to be enough to keep the costs of goods viable, so we developed a new production process and supply chain, to deliver the product to market.
Atomo Diagnostics is now a business with a presence in Australia, Europe and Africa. Selling products not only in the developing world, but also the developed world, through a growing portfolio of products.
It is holding its own against the major players and growing. Attracting international recognition and investment, from those who see the impact this unique approach to diagnostics can make.