Smartphone urinalysis company Healthy.io scored a win for testing for chronic kidney disease, announcing earlier this month that it raised $50 million in funding to expand its tests in the US.
The company’s Minuteful Kidney test can detect early signs of chronic kidney disease by measuring increased presence of a protein called albumin in urine. A smartphone app determines a patient’s albumin-to-creatinine ratio after the patient dips a test strip in a cup of his or her urine and takes a photo of the strip alongside a color board.
Healthy.io estimates that 90% of the 37 million Americans who have CKD — which disproportionately affects underserved communities — don’t know they have it and often progress to having late-stage CKD or needing dialysis treatments.
“By reducing barriers to essential diagnostic tests, Minuteful Kidney can reduce healthcare costs, create clinical value for providers and help patients of all socioeconomic backgrounds avoid costly and disruptive kidney disease treatments,” Healthy.io CEO and founder Yonatan Adiri said in a statement. “In the process, we can make healthcare more accessible and equitable, while providing a game changing solution to one the biggest cost-drivers in healthcare.”
The remote/automatic kidney testing market has grown significantly in recent years. Other tests for CKD include doctor-ordered urine and blood tests, as well as blood pressure, imaging and kidney biopsies.
Although 37 million Americans have CKD, millions of others are at increased risk, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Risk factors include diabetes and high blood pressure, which are responsible for two-thirds of CKD cases, and early detection can help prevent the progression of the disease.