Kenota Health Inc., an innovative medical technology company based in Canada, has raised $11 million in funding with the aim of providing rapid and reliable allergy testing for physicians to test and treat more patients within a single clinic visit.
Kenota raised an initial seed round of $2 million in 2016 to begin working on a proof-of-concept for their technology that would validate their approach with physicians across the U.S and Canada.
This was followed by a Series A of $9 million, which was led by leading global venture fund, Draper Associates, with participation from certain funds managed by Y Combinator, OS Fund, BDC Capital (Bridge Financing Program), BoxOne Ventures, Dr. Collin Terpstra (allergy specialist), 1517 as well as Fifty Years Capital.
“Each year, more than 200,000 Americans are rushed to the emergency department as a result of food allergies, so building a tool that can help doctors identify allergies more rapidly and treat more patients is critical,” said Moufeed Kaddoura, Kenota’s Founder and CEO. “I feel honored to be working with a world-class group of investors who utilize their position to shape a better future for healthcare.”
Kenota is directing its focus to point-of-care allergy testing in the U.S. and Canada, which is an underserved and often overlooked market. Currently, allergy specialists employ either a skin prick test or a lab-based blood test to determine a patient’s allergies. The skin prick test works by applying an allergen (such as peanut or milk) to the patient’s skin and pricking the area to check for a reaction.
Alternatively, the patient may be sent to a laboratory to provide a large sample of blood, where results may take up to a few weeks to process. Now, Kenota is bringing lab testing to the clinic, when and where it’s needed, to provide allergy specialists with a new approach to allergy testing, which takes less than 30 minutes and requires just a few drops of blood from a quick finger prick.
“We’re very excited to back Kenota’s mission,” said Tim Draper, Founder and Managing Partner at Draper Associates. “We were impressed with the quality of the team, their focus on a better user experience in the allergy market, and their commitment to working with the FDA early to get their product on the market.”
In a world where allergies are on the rise, combining rapid allergy testing with data and the specialist’s oversight is the answer to more people getting diagnosed early. In addition, faster testing means more patients have clarity on their allergies and receive the right medical advice and treatment.
This is particularly critical for life-threatening allergies, which is a big area of focus for Kenota. It can be difficult to collect blood from children, yet they are often the ones most affected by serious allergies. The Kenota system makes the sample collection process quick and easy, allowing physicians to be armed with the information they need.
Kenota’s goal is to have more children diagnosed earlier and placed on a treatment plan known as immunotherapy, where small amounts of an allergen, such as peanuts, are introduced over a prolonged period. The patient’s body ends up developing tolerance towards the allergens, helping them become less reactive and in some cases, they may completely outgrow their life threatening allergies.
Kenota has consulted with the FDA from the early stages of its development process for their testing technology to ensure that it satisfies the needs of both the regulators and patients.