Better biomarker detection part of move to earlier diagnosis

Watched a Chicago angel investors’ group at work this past week. Sword Diagnostics presented the business plan and revenue projections for its new super-sensitive biomarker testing technology. The quote in their presentation is from the CEO of GE, Jeff Immelt: “Over the next decade, $250 billion in healthcare spending will shift from disease treatment to diagnosis.”

Sword uses its own version of Raman spectroscopy to get detailed readouts on not only the presence but also the levels–in many cases, even very low levels–of various biomarkers. One such is troponin in coronary artery disease, where the ability to detect its presence at earlier stages can prevent misdiagnosing unstable angina which, when missed, can lead to more deaths.

Other applications include finding low-level biomarkers for cancer in the blood–thus not sending patients home to wait for the cancer to grow big enough to test for–and being able to detect Alzheimer’s biomarkers with a blood test, thus saving patients the necessity of having a painful and intrusive lumbar punch.

Heartland Angels is helping Sword find investors, so if this sounds as good to you as it does to me–and so it seemed to several of the investors at the meeting–talk to Ron Kirschner at Heartland.