Austin, Texas, Company Raises $14M To Market Device To Monitor HIV/AIDS Patients’ CD4+ T Cell Levels
Austin, Texas-based LabNow has raised $14 million in a first round of fundraising to bring to market a new technology that monitors HIV/AIDS patients' CD4+ T cell levels, the Austin American-Statesman reports. The device, which is expected to be about the size of a toaster, is a smaller, less-expensive version of the CD4+ T cell testing device that currently helps doctors effectively prescribe medications to HIV-positive people, according to the American-Statesman. The device currently used to measure CD4+ T cells is the size of a refrigerator and costs $75,000. LabNow plans to sell the device for about $750 to clinics in developing countries -- particularly China, Mexico and South Africa -- and to not-for-profit groups that work with HIV/AIDS issues and hopes to subsidize most of the cost of the device and "practically give them away," LabNow CEO Richard Hawkins said. Hawkins said he hopes to make the device available by July 2005 and manufacture 20,000 in the first year. Billionaire George Soros is the company's largest backer, investing $7 million in the project, while the Austin Ventures invested more than $3 million. The University of Texas, which developed the testing method, owns 10.5% of LabNow and will collect royalties from sales (Rayasam, Austin American-Statesman, 9/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.