ARCHIMED’s portfolio company DIESSE is developing a blood test for COVID-19 detection – it will be one of the first in the world capable of accurately mapping the spread of the virus
The purchase by DHG – a portfolio company of European private equity health care specialist ARCHIMED – is a carve-out from Swedish-listed group Handicare.
Scheduled for distribution in late April, the test indicates whether someone has ever had COVID-19 or is a carrier without symptoms; testing today commonly shows only whether someone displaying symptoms actually has COVID-19.
Leading in vitro diagnostics specialist – and ARCHIMED portfolio company – DIESSE Diagnostica Senese, based in Siena, Italy, has developed one of the world’s only blood tests currently capable of tracking COVID-19 antibodies. It will be distributed in late April, following a precise evaluation of its performance by the Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases in Rome (the final stage of the test’s refinement). DIESSE’s first production batches will be used for screening the doctors, nurses and workers employed by the public and private healthcare sectors in Tuscany. DIESSE plans to distribute the test throughout Italy and globally.
DIESSE was purchased in May 2019 by Duomodiag Sarl, a holding company wholly backed by European private equity healthcare specialist ARCHIMED (through its MED II fund).
DIESSE’s novel blood tests will complement the molecular swab tests now most commonly used for diagnosis. Such molecular tests can identify those currently infected by COVID-19 among so-called symptomatic patients (those displaying symptoms), but they can’t pinpoint the formerly infected, nor are they an efficient way to track active carriers who present no symptoms; DIESSE’s test focuses on screening the latter two groups (so-called asymptomatic subjects). Crucially, the DIESSE test will help determine the prevention measures (e.g. confinement) applied to asymptomatic, active COVID-19 carriers and will permit more accurate analysis of how the infection spreads through populations.
“Blood serum tests like ours are key to getting COVID-19 under control,” says Massimiliano Boggetti, CEO of DIESSE. “Partnering with a sophisticated industry specialist like ARCHIMED has provided DIESSE with the financing and freedom to effectively battle against major healthcare dangers like COVID-19 and to stay at the cutting edge.”
“Aiding bold groups like DIESSE is one of the highlights of our job,” says Loic Kubitza, Partner at ARCHIMED. “We want to see partner companies profitably grow over the long-term by providing them with the finance, counsel and industry connections needed to successfully address challenges like COVID-19.”
Indeed, five out of 13 ARCHIMED portfolio companies are actively fighting COVID-19. In addition to DIESSE’s activities, BOMI Group specializes in essential hospital delivery services; Clean Biologics offers safety testing services for potential COVID-19 solutions; Polyplus is using its proprietary technology to aid manufacturers of potential COVID-19 vaccines; and Provepharm is involved in the challenge through a confidential project.
About Diagnostica Senese SpA – www.diesse.it – DIESSE is an Italian company with integrated and entirely in-house production of in vitro diagnostic systems. Its headquarters are in Siena. Since its foundation in 1980, the company has developed, produced and marketed innovative diagnostic systems primarily in the field of immunodiagnostics and automatic measurement of the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). The company has a global presence in over 100 countries, three production sites and a research centre where the design and implementation of tests and new automated diagnostic detection tools meet Italian design and cutting-edge technology, making DIESSE synonymous with “Diagnostic Evolution.”