Hippo Dx, a MedTech startup headquartered in Belgium, has unveiled an innovative allergy testing device that boasts superior speed, cost-effectiveness, and precision. The company proudly declares its successful attainment of €4.4 million in a recent funding round, earmarked for expanding its global footprint.
The company has successfully secured funding from both its existing supporters and new investors, such as LRM and the American Allerfund Ventures.
Established in 2020, Hippo Dx has introduced a groundbreaking medical device named S.P.A.T. (Skin Prick Automated Test), designed to meet the demand for automated and accurate allergy testing.
Founded by a team consisting of Senne Gorris, an ear-nose-throat surgeon, Wim Hofkens, a Mechatronics Engineer, and Peter De Roovere, a Software Engineer, Hippo Dx’s device promises swifter, more precise, and consistent allergy testing.
The company’s overarching mission is to significantly reduce the misdiagnosis rates that afflict 45 percent of the global population suffering from allergies.
Cutting-Edge Allergy Testing Device
The global allergy prevalence is on the upswing, with estimates indicating that up to half of Europeans could experience allergies by 2025. Factors contributing to this surge include heightened childhood hygiene standards, increased antibiotic usage, and climate change-related exposure to novel substances.
Tom Vanham, General Manager of LRM, remarks, “Allergies are on a significant upswing, making Hippo Dx’s innovative SPAT device’s commercialization timely. With approximately 100 hospitals in Belgium, over 500 in the Netherlands, and more than 3,000 in both France and Germany, their domestic and neighboring market potential is substantial.”
He continues, “Moreover, due to the innovation, efficiency, speed, and accuracy of their device, they can ultimately aim for a global presence, as there’s no similar device offering these advantages.”
Vanham adds, “The story being told here by Senne Gorris and his team is one that should make fellow countrymen proud. With the support of the Limburg Investment Company LRM, we are delighted to assist promising startups and scale-ups.”
Hippo Dx has pioneered a groundbreaking device designed to streamline, accelerate, and enhance allergy detection tests, addressing the current labor-intensive and cumbersome nature of these procedures. This advancement is critical for timely diagnosis, effective management, and an improved quality of life for individuals with allergies. The device has already found adoption in Belgian hospitals, offering solutions to healthcare challenges, such as staff shortages and rising costs.
Led by specialist Senne Gorris, the company has introduced the Skin Prick Automated Test (SPAT) to revolutionize allergy testing. Introduced in 2020, the SPAT device can conduct 12 tests on the forearm in just 10 seconds.
Hospital Adoption and Approval of Innovative Medical Device
Hippo Dx’s cutting-edge SPAT device has earned the green light for hospital usage. Initially focusing on the local and nearby markets, prominent medical institutions such as UZ Leuven, AZ Herentals, Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg, and CHU Luik have already embraced this technology.
Furthermore, the company is actively working on an artificial intelligence-driven method to analyze SPAT images, providing diagnostic recommendations to healthcare professionals based on patients’ allergic reactions. This development enhances the device’s capabilities and its potential to provide valuable insights for medical practitioners.
Senne Goris, one of Hippo Dx‘s co-founders, remarks, “We’ve noticed a significant rise in allergy cases not only in Europe but also in the United States, particularly concerning food allergies.” He continues, “Common food allergens include shellfish, milk, and nuts, with approximately 10 percent of the population experiencing one or more food allergies. The fact that American Allerfund Ventures is co-investing in our venture strengthens our belief in our ability to enter the American market.”
Hippo Dx’s Diagnostic Approach Sets It Apart from Traditional Prick and Blood Tests
Hippo Dx’s testing device stands out as the sole product of its kind available in the market. In stark contrast to conventional methods, this device streamlines both the collection and analysis of samples, significantly enhancing efficiency while minimizing errors.
Crucially, Hippo Dx’s innovation involves the optimization of an existing testing process rather than introducing a novel technique. This strategic approach ensures a smooth reimbursement process and seamless integration into established healthcare systems.
Senne Gorris explains, “The challenge with allergies lies in the diverse range of symptoms they can manifest. To obtain a definitive diagnosis, allergy testing is imperative. Currently, there are two primary methods for allergy testing: the skin prick test and the blood test.”
“In the skin prick test, a physician creates small scratches on the patient’s forearm and subsequently applies various allergen drops. If, after 15 minutes, the patient exhibits swelling, itching, and redness, it indicates a reaction and likely allergy to that specific allergen.”
“While the skin prick test is cost-effective and can be administered almost anywhere, it is time-consuming and yields variable result quality. Blood testing, on the other hand, is faster and often the preferred choice, but it lacks precision, provides delayed results, and is costlier.”
“All these drawbacks are effectively addressed by our SPAT device. Furthermore, the SPAT device offers additional advantages. The healthcare sector faces the dual challenges of limited budgets and staffing shortages. With automation driving efficiency improvements, hospitals quickly realize a return on investment,” Gorris adds.