StratifiCare™ Inc, a spinoff from the National University of Singapore (NUS), is revolutionizing how patients are managed and treated in the world. Their flagship product, StratifiDen™, is the world’s first Dengue prognostic test. Government, insurers, and hospitals are lauding the early results of the StratifiDen test, given its ability to predict the risk of Severe Dengue (SD) more accurately than existing methods.
StratifiCare is now raising its US Seed fund of US$2 Mn to scale its Clinical Trials and operations, with its sights set on the global Dengue diagnostic market and FDA as the gold standard regulatory approval for the sector. StratifiCare was awarded the highly competitive Startup Singapore Tech Award by Enterprise Singapore, the government agency championing enterprise development and commercialization of proprietary technology solutions.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection described as a “fast-emerging pandemic-prone” disease by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 96 million suffering from symptomatic Dengue infections annually. An important challenge in the management of Dengue is how to accurately predict early in the disease, which patients will go on to experience Severe Dengue: Severe plasma leakage, hemorrhage, and organ impairment.
WHO reports that while 96 million people have symptomatic Dengue infections every year, only 500,000 progressed to develop SD and required hospitalization. 2.5% of these die from the disease. Globally, this has a US$ 8.9 Bn socioeconomic costs to society.
Due to the lack of a prediction test, Dengue outbreaks overload hospitals with too many non-severe Dengue patients and limits resources available for patients who are progressing into (other) severe conditions, putting lives at risk.
The global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in recent decades. WHO estimates that half of the world’s population is now at risk. A number that tallies more than 3.9 billion people, in 128 countries.
To control the spread of Dengue, reduce the number of deaths and its re-occurrence in the future, governments across the world have adopted various comprehensive Dengue control policies that focus on prevention and cure. The multi-pronged efforts for Dengue control include the provision of diagnosis and treatment facilities for Dengue fever at all health centers and the adoption of preventive measures. In countries such as Brazil, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, they have set up their own national programs such as the National Dengue Prevention and Control Program. The World Mosquito Program, formerly known as Eliminate Dengue, is also helping to protect the global population from mosquito-borne diseases. Such interventions are boosting the global Dengue testing market all over the world.
Statistically to date, the average hospital stay for a Dengue patient is 10 days, with an average patient liability of one month’s salary. Through the use of StratifiDen, this burden can be reduced down to a maximum of one day for non-severe Dengue patients, allowing them to rest and recuperate at home.
AXA Partners sees a strong future in the StratifiDen Dengue prognostic test and has entered into a Letter of Intent for Partnership with the company, pending the regulatory approval of the product.
Thibault Demoures, Asia Head of Health Solutions Development of AXA Partners Asia comments, “AXA Partners is a 3rd party insurance administrator and we help to manage the policies of over 100 insurers in Asia. Our mandate is to maximize health outcomes for patients while containing medical costs for payers. The Dengue prognostic test offered by StratifiCare, aligns with our focus. With over 2 million customers in Malaysia, high medical costs due to Dengue represent a significant business challenge. With the implementation of StratifiDen, we foresee substantial overall savings in claims for the Dengue disease in general. This test could effectively shorten the hospitalization period of the majority of Dengue patients.”
StratifiDen uses a combination of proprietary biomarkers on a common laboratory test platform. Preliminary data demonstrated its value by offering the highest sensitivity (90%) and specificity (91%) reported. The Dengue prognostic technology has been currently undergoing further evaluation in a Singapore government-funded clinical trial since October 2018.
StratifiCare has obtained worldwide exclusive rights to commercialize the Dengue prognostic technology. The patent has been granted in Australia and filed under national phase in four of the hardest hit Dengue countries.
Dr. Anthony Chua, CEO of StratifiCare, comments, “Today, StratifiDen is delivered as a clinical laboratory test. We also plan to release this as a point-of-care test (POCT) kit, putting it into the hands of consumers in remote locations, without the need for a testing lab. This can be attractive for markets like Africa, Northern Australia, Brazil, Island Nations, and India, where patients are based far from hospitals and diagnostic facilities. A POCT complemented by telemedicine can further help to reduce the financial burden on families and payers, where distance is a challenge.”
Government tendering and partnerships between diagnostic kit manufacturers are expected to provide long-term opportunities to StratifiCare in the Dengue testing market. Governments in Latin America and Asia-Pacific are laying emphasis to eradicate diseases that have a higher infection rate by providing free diagnosis tests and medication to the underprivileged with the help of various government-funded programs. However, in order to achieve these objectives, the local authorities need a constant supply of related diagnostic kits.
Scientists at the University of Florida have predicted that up to 1 billion additional people – including many in North America, East Asia, and Europe – could be exposed to mosquito-carried viruses including Dengue and Zika by 2080 if the climate continues to warm at current rates.