Austin, TX August 25, 2014: Spot On Sciences, Inc., an Austin-based medical device company, has received a six-month, $150,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to demonstrate the company’s HemaSpot device for collection and analysis of time-relevant blood samples for medical research in chronic disease and population studies.
Recent studies completed by Dr. Ramon Hermida from the University of Vigo, Spain have shown that the survival of at-risk patients is increased up to 5-fold by simply taking blood pressure medications at bedtime instead of morning. Research to further investigate the causes, likely due to the body’scircadian rhythm, has been limited by the difficulty in obtaining blood samples at specific time points such as early morning and late evening. Previously a certified phlebotomist and travel to a laboratory for venipuncture blood collection was required to get a blood sample.
The HemaSpot™ devices, developed by scientists at Spot On Sciences, uses a fingerstick to collect blood samples at home. Based on dried blood spot (DBS) technology, which is best known for newborn screening, the patented device improves sample quality, simplifies collection, and allows for stable sample storage at room temperature. Obtaining multiple samples in a single day to measure disease biomarkers that change according to daily circadian rhythms can provide valuable data for predicting, diagnosing and treating chronic diseases such as diabetes, kidney and cardiovascular disease.
According to Dr. Michael Smolensky, professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Texas-Austin and past editor of the academic journalChronobiology International, HemaSpot “… is the tool we’ve been waiting for.” Smolensky, who is also collaborating with Dr. Hermida and Spot On Sciences for this study, stated that “…HemaSpot sets the stage for large-scale, low-cost patient studies in blood pressure and hypertension that we hope to initiate next year.” Spot On Sciences’ founder, Dr. Jeanette Hill, commented “We are very excited to work with Drs. Hermida and Smolensky, well known experts in the chronobiology area, on this study. Discovering the underlying causes of the intriguing findings of Dr. Hermida’s study can point to new diagnostic tests and treatments for high burden diseases. “
The single-use HemaSpot™ device uses a finger stick to collect and dry two drops of blood within a protective cartridge. Once dried, the sample is stable at room temperature and can be safely and easily shipped to a diagnostic test site for analysis. Traditional DBS involves a multi-step process that is subject to errors from moisture, contamination, and sample loss. HemaSpot’s™ innovative design addresses these problems, streamlining the entire process. Common disease markers can be measured including proteins, nucleic acids and small molecules.
“We’ve known for a long time that the body’s circadian time structure, i.e., circadian rhythms, can have a significant effect on day-night variation in the symptoms intensity of disease and effectiveness of medication. HemaSpot makes it possible for new research into this intriguing area of medical chronobiology,” said Dr. Hill.
About National Institutes of Health (NIH)
NIH is a biomedical research facility primarily located in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. An agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, it is the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and health-related research.
About Spot On Sciences
Spot On Sciences, Inc., located in Austin, Texas, is a medical device company that is actively developing innovative methods for collecting and storing biological fluid samples. The company’s current product, HemaSpot™, allows for simplified blood sample collection and storage for dried blood spot (DBS) testing. More than 20 billion blood tests are performed annually worldwide with in vitro diagnostics showing sales of an estimated US$28.6 billion worldwide. Spot On Sciences aspires to change existing paradigms in this mature market with technologies that simplify processes, save time and reduce costs. The company has been recognized with many awards including the SXSW Interactive Accelerator (2013), RISE Global Pitch Competition (2013), 1776 Challenge Cup – Health category (2014) and the Astia/WeOwnIt Venture Competition (2014). For more information visit the company’s website atwww.spotonsciences.com.