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Testmate Health Raises $6M To Launch First At-Home Rapid Test For STIs

The round was led by women’s health fund RH Capital, with participation from Tia and Oova backer The Helm, Dame and Playground backer Amboy Street Ventures, Lichtsteiner Foundation, Zürcher Kantonal Bank and Dartlabs.io. The capital is slated for product development, clinical trials and market validation for Testmate’s first-of-its-kind, low-cost, over-the-counter at-home diagnostic urine test for STIs, starting with chlamydia and gonorrhea. The company doesn’t anticipate regulatory approvals until next year.

In a statement, Elizabeth Bailey, managing director at RH Capital, says, “Testmate Health’s innovative approach to at-home STI testing addresses a critical need in the healthcare space. We are excited to partner with the company and its mission to improve access to essential diagnostics while  ensuring the highest standards of accuracy and privacy.”

Other sexual health and wellness brands like Dame, Daye and Evvy offer at-home STI tests, but test takers have to mail self-collected specimens to receive results, a process that can take days. With Testmate’s urine STI tests, test takers can expect to receive reliable results at home in under 30 minutes. Testmate’s tests are slated to be available OTC without a prescription.

Testmate founder and CEO Siew-Veena Sahi, who’s a physician, studied sexual health diagnostics at the World Health Organization and worked at the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. Her study of sexual and reproductive health showed the dearth of cheap and accurate tests for STIs like chlamydia or gonorrhea, which sparked her to develop Testmate’s urine-based DNA platform detection technology. She launched Testmate in 2021.

We’re empowering individuals to take control of their sexual health with accessible, accurate and convenient testing solutions from home

Siew-Veena Sahi, Testmate Health founder, CEO and physician

“Our goal is making a positive impact on global public health by helping end the silent epidemic of sexually transmitted infections for chlamydia and gonorrhea,” says Sahi in a statement. “We’re empowering individuals to take control of their sexual health with accessible, accurate and convenient testing solutions from home.”

Sahi refers to the prevalence of STIs as “silent” because most infected people have no symptoms—an estimated 85% of STIs are asymptomatic—and may not be diagnosed until they become symptomatic. Through its primary research, Testmate discovered that, when people believe they’re at risk, they will get tested if they have symptoms.

Left untreated, STIs can cause dire health complications, including neurological and cardiovascular disease, pelvic inflammatory disease and increased risk of HIV and certain cancers. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two of the top infective causes of infertility worldwide.

“People don’t realize they’re at risk, and they don’t realize that these infections are asymptomatic,” says Kelly Brezoczky, interim CEO at Testmate, a role she’s stepped into while Sahi is on maternity leave. “They also don’t think there’s treatments available when in most cases a very single course of antibiotics will clear them. So, there’s a lot of misperception among people who are actually at risk for STIs about whether they’re treatable or not.”

Testmate Health founder, CEO and physician Siew-Veena Sahi

Prior to joining Testmate, Brezoczky spent her career in consumer health and was previously EVP at Lucira Health, which developed a PCR quality at-home COVID-19 test kit. The company was acquired by Pfizer in 2023 for $36.4 million.

Brezoczky emphasizes that public health education and affordable testing should be widely accessible, especially for populations that engage in sexual behaviors considered risky such as a significant portion of people under 30. She says, “Once they see and understand what the risk factors are, their motivation to test goes up significantly.”

The intention is for the Testmate’s rapid at-home STI test and future products to be placed in venues where sexual health and wellness testing is currently happening like Planned Parenthood locations, university clinics and doctor’s offices as well as in direct-to-consumer distribution through telehealth channels and Amazon. Telehealth treatment options via Testmate’s app are on the roadmap, too.

Brezoczky says, “People should always have the opportunity to go see their doctor if that’s what they would choose, but I think it’s incumbent on the company to make sure health connections are available for people that would have a positive result and the ability to seek treatment through that.”

Testmate is running its business at a precarious time for sexual health in the United States. Data released in January from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released shows that incidents of syphilis and chlamydia have climbed to record highs, and that the nation is struggling to gain control of an epidemic of STIs. Specifically, there was a 80% spike in syphilis during the five years ending in 2022, the most recent period for which data is available.


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