Aiming to revolutionise anaemia diagnosis

The Amsterdam-based medtech startup Sanguis.ai has secured €19,200 of funding from MIT for a feasibility phase-1 study. The funds will allow them to test the prototype of their revolutionary device, which provides an inexpensive, non-invasive means of diagnosing anaemia by monitoring haemoglobin levels using photoplethysmography (PPG) and AI. Using a smartphone, the device will help identify the low levels of red blood cells caused by anaemia: a widespread, under-diagnosed and dangerous condition.

Tackling a severe public health problem 

Anaemia is a severe public health problem around the world, with the World Health Organization estimating that 42% of children under five years of age and 40% of pregnant women worldwide are anaemic

“We’re excited to have received this grant to help continue our important work,” says co-founder and CEO Andrew Harrison. Anaemia – a lack of the protein haemoglobin in red blood cells – is a major disease burden, affecting up to 1 in 3 people worldwide.” If left unchecked, anaemia can become severe and cause potentially fatal complications. 

A medtech solution from an Amsterdam-based startup

The solution developed by Sanguis.ai aims to simplify and economise the screening for anaemia: a clip-on device similar to a pulse oximeter, linked to a smartphone. Besides being cost saving for medical professionals, the device has potential for home use. “We’d also like to see our work reach straight into the hands of consumers as well,” adds Harrison. “This has happened with pulse oximeters (that measure blood oxygen saturation), with inexpensive consumer-grade devices available.

A product of Amsterdam’s research valorisation ecosystem

Sanguis.ai emerged from the ACE Incubator programme and was part of Amsterdam Startup Launch and Demonstrator Lab, both at the Vrije Universiteit (VU). To develop the device, Sanguis.ai were able to attract MIT funding thanks to support from Provincie Noord-Holland (the province of Noord-Holland), and Harrison acknowledges that this support from members of Amsterdam’s academic valorisation community has been instrumental in Sanguis’ success. 

Amsterdam’s hub for life sciences research and innovation

Amsterdam’s medtech sector benefits from a strong tradition of valorisation in the city, with a strong track record in both AI and life sciences and health. With a great deal of cooperation between research institutions, universities, medical centres, corporations and startups, the overlap between technology and healthcare promotes developments in both fields. This leads to both many forward-thinking medtech innovations and pioneering AI initiatives, often being developed simultaneously.

Read up on the city’s wider life sciences and health and AI fields, or keep track of Amsterdam business news for more information across all sectors.