CRIAM hopes to save lives with a fast, portable blood type testing tool

Getting diagnostic testing right when you need it, in real-time and on-site is a challenge for many healthcare workers. However, testing for things like blood type in the case of a needed blood transfusion can be critical in an emergency setting. The problem is most blood-based testing, save for diabetes, is not currently available right away.

Portugal-based startup CRIAM (which stands for chemical reaction and image analysis for mobility) hopes to change that with its “PCT-patented” portable tool to determine the correct blood type while in an ambulance or on site in an emergency in fewer than 3 minutes. The company launched onstage in the Disrupt SF Startup Battlefield competition.

CRIAM’s automated lab-in-a-box quickly determines human ABO and RH blood types, allowing for immediate use of the correct sanguine solution to help the patient survive.

Many companies, including the now-defunct Theranos and its more prosperous peer, Genalyte, have also deployed lab-in-a-box type tools to try to identify a large sum of diseases. However, CRIAM is unique in its more focused approach in determining blood type.

The company also believes the use of this device will have an impact on the management of blood inventory, thus bringing down costs while maintaining a good supply of needed blood types.

“Blood transfusion costs are high, accounting for about 1% of hospitals’ budgets,” CRIAM CEO and former Microsoft executive Vitor Crespo told TechCrunch, adding that the company roadmap includes more than just blood type testing. Ultimately, Crespo would like to incorporate applications for in vitro diagnostics (IVD) testing, expanding the unit to incorporate disease detection.

“There are more than 200 diseases we can add to our diagnostics technology and identify with our hardware platform,” Crespo said.

The potential to add a portable diagnostic tool to hospitals, small clinics, national health systems and NGOs is quite large as well. In 2018, the IVD market size was valued at nearly $69 billion in U.S. dollars and is slated to reach over $100 billion by 2025, according to market research firm Grand View Research.

CRIAM tells TechCrunch it is currently in the process of seeking FDA and CFDA approval for its device and has already signed letters of intent towards such approvals. The company also mentioned it had forged partnerships with hardware accelerator HAX, as well as Braga’s Hospital, Birmingham Biohub, Minho University and Chinese VC firm Fosun Innovation Hub.