Seattle-based Tasso, which makes devices for the self-collection of blood samples, has landed $100 million in funding.
Tasso’s devices work on the upper arm, drawing blood from a network of capillaries under the skin with the push of a button. People don’t need training to collect their own blood, taking healthcare providers out of the loop and enabling applications such as remote patient monitoring.
The startup’s devices can collect liquid or dried samples that can be shipped through the mail. The Tasso OnDemand device, which collects dried samples as dots on a strip, received clearance this May in the European Union for non-diagnostic uses, such monitoring of patients in clinical trials.
“Today, Tasso devices are successfully supporting decentralized clinical trials, clinical research, and remote patient health monitoring,” said Ben Casavant, CEO and co-founder of Tasso, in a statement. Tasso also in October announced a partnership with InnoVero, which makes sample collection kits to test for doping in athletes, using dried blood spots.
Casavant co-founded the company with fellow bioengineer and CTO Erwin Berthier in 2011. The company in its early days received grant funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the National Institute of Health (NIH).
The new Series B round brings the company’s total funding to date to $131 million. On top of more than $13 million in grants, the company previously raised $17 million in July 2020. The company also is buoyed by increased interest in telehealth and at-home health care.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a fundamental shift in how we think about healthcare, and demand for patient-centric, in-home solutions is greater than ever,” said Casavant.
In September, researchers at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center reported results from a study of the Tasso-SST device to collect liquid blood. Samples self-collected by COVID-19 patients maintained antibody quality similar to that from samples collected and analyzed on site by a phlebotomist, even after being held for several days to mimic shipping times.
The device for liquid blood is designed to collect more blood than the average finger prick — yielding on average about a 1/3 milliliters in the study.
“We believe that the FDA will recognize the clinical diagnostic value of these tests and open pathways for authorization,” Berthier previously told GeekWire.
The path to FDA authorization may also be eased by the growth of other companies in the field. Other startups developing devices for blood self-collection include Babson Diagnostics, which landed $31 million last June, and Harbinger Health.
Tasso will use the new funds to increase manufacturing and operations and expand its health testing services.
The new financing round was led by RA Capital Management, with participation from existing investors Foresite Capital, Hambrecht Ducera Growth Ventures, J2V, Cedars-Sinai, and Merck GHIF. New investors included the D.E. Shaw group, Senvest, InCube, and SVB Innovation Fund.