It is estimated that about 1 percent of the world’s population suffer from celiac disease, a disorder where the immune system mistakes substances found in gluten as a threat to the body and attacks them. This causes damage to the small intestines, disrupting the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. There are several blood tests available that screen for celiac disease antibodies, with the most commonly used being a tTG-IgA test. However, a biopsy of the small intestine is still recommended in order to accurately diagnose the disease.
The Barcelona-based startup BioEclosion develop a rapid, quantitative and highly predictive diagnostic test, called CeliFast, for celiac disease at point of care using a drop of blood. Based on the analysis of a blood biomarker, the test has been tested using clinical samples and has shown a sensitivity of 100 percent. The rapid and simple nature of the test means that it could also be used to track the progress of the disease by periodically analyzing patients, and quickly evaluate immediate family.
The startup aim to avoid the use of invasive procedures and specialist laboratories in order to diagnose celiac disease. Their non-invasive technology is designed with younger patients in mind, who might find current procedures especially problematic. As a result, the test could significantly reduce the risk of complications due to late diagnosis, and help patients better manage their disease.
Celiac disease is considered to be underdiagnosed across the globe, especially in developing countries. Although the disease is grossly under-recognized, the lack of appropriate technology to diagnose the disease is a major factor of why it is underdiagnosed in low resource settings. The point of care solution by BioEclosion could improve access to a diagnostic test, which through its simplicity could increase celiac disease’s recognition.
BioEclosion has through their CeliFast technology a unique opportunity to disrupt the celiac disease diagnostics market, change current guidelines, and improve access and health outcomes. The diagnostic test has previously won the Generating Ideas Programme at UAB, and the Valortec competition run by ACCIO, a competition that aim to encourage Catalan researchers to develop products and services with commercial potential. The startup is now a semi-finalist in OneStart, the world’s largest accelerator for startups seeking to dramatically improve human health.