As Cellia Science approaches the first anniversary of our formation, I am pleased to reflect on the progress we have made and am excited for what is to come. As the pandemic wanes, it is clear the demand for telehealth and in-home care is here to stay. Recent efforts to transition cancer care to patient homes have demonstrated the potential for improving patient outcomes while reducing costs. The National Cancer Institute recently announced grants to fund the launch of four new cancer Telehealth Research Centers of Excellence, with support from the White House Cancer Moonshot initiative, to develop and test advanced methods of telehealth delivery for cancer care. While these initial efforts have been met with great satisfaction from patients and practitioners, there is still potential to greatly expand the range of care that can be offered in-home. We look forward to further enabling these efforts with our first product, a point-of-care hematology analyzer that will provide bedside complete blood cell counts (CBCs).
At Cellia, we are taking a new approach to classify blood cell types. By leveraging the inherent properties of cellular biomolecules, specifically their absorption of certain wavelengths of ultraviolet light, we can generate high-resolution images of the cells without any of the processing steps or reagents traditionally required. This provides a wealth of data that enables classification and counting of the cell types by automated algorithms. To enable use by people without training in pathology, the analyzer is coupled with a microfluidic cartridge, which requires only a single drop of blood and reliably generates a blood cell monolayer that can be imaged directly without further handling.
One focus in our first year was evaluating user needs for our technology. To this end, we interviewed many stakeholders, including oncologists, pathologists, nurses, and clinical administrators from a wide range of practice settings, to refine the requirements for our hematology analyzer. The excitement amongst practitioners for a CLIA-waived device that could provide rapid blood cell counts has energized our team as we continue to develop our instrument. A blood cell analyzer that can be used in any care setting would enable rapid CBC results regardless of location – whether it be an infusion clinic, hospital, or even the patient’s home – speeding treatment decisions and reducing delays to critical therapies.
As we translate our device from the initial lab-built instrument to a product ready for the clinic, we are placing a large focus on usability. We have partnered with a design and manufacturing firm to optimize our consumable cartridge. Use of this cartridge will be straightforward without significant training – similar to testing glucose with fingerstick capillary blood samples. Our new design also leverages proprietary new technology that will reduce the turn-around time of the test.
Cellia Science is currently focusing its efforts on the automated point-of-care hematology analyzer, but there are additional clinical challenges that could also be addressed with our technology. Cellia is engaging in academic partnerships for initial proof-of-concept studies to explore these additional opportunities while maintaining a strong focus on the commercialization of our first product.
Cellia Science has opened a bridge round to support continued product development and patent prosecution. If you would like to learn more, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit celliasci.com.