REVIEW: A Point-of-Care Test to Screen Cervical Cancer

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Cervia received a $100K research grant. Founder/CEO and research scientist Solomon Nabitayan will soon release a pediatric HIV test to the market which was funded by the Gates Foundation.

Cervia Diagnostic Innovation’s revolutionary new product, “Cerviva,” accurately detects cervical cancer and has the potential to save thousands of lives. Founder and Northwestern research professor, Solomon Arman Nabatiyan has already demonstrated his expertise and ingenuity in developing impactful health care solutions as evidenced by his latest creation of a pediatric HIV test which is expected to be released in the second quarter of 2013. [Video produced by Cervia]

PRODUCT/SERVICE: Cerviva is a revolutionary new test to screen for cervical cancer. Cerviva is a canister pre-filled with a solution material that dissolves bio cells from a collector. Biomarkers are used to analyze the specimen. A camera records the results of the test by flashing light on the strip after 25 minutes. The test reveals if lesions are present, their stage of development, and if they are cancerous. To watch a video of the product, go to: .

VALUE PROPOSITION: Approximately, 5,000 women die each year from cervical cancer in the U.S. Globally, 275,000 women die. Cervical cancer kills more women worldwide than any other type of cancer. It affects mainly young women as early as age 17. Countless other women suffer from infertility due to incorrect diagnosis.

MARKET SIZE: 60MM pap smear tests are performed in the U.S. every year at an average cost of $65 per test. $7 billion a year is spent on pap smears and overall screening for cervical cancer in the U.S.

REVENUE MODEL: The sales price is $5 per test. Multiplied by the 60MM pap smear tests in 2011 generates $300MM of annual revenue in the U.S. alone. For volume between 100K and 500K units, the average cost of goods sold is $1 per unit. Above 1MM units, the average cost is $.25 per unit. The company will also generate revenue from the one-time sale of its reader device which interprets the findings of the test. The cost of this device will range between $50 & $100.

MANAGEMENT TEAM: Solomon Nabatiyan is co-founder/CEO and principal research scientist at Cervia. He is a research professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Center for Innovation in Global Health Technologies at Northwestern University. He has published 8 scientific papers and holds several U.S. patents. Other key executives include Arzu Karimova (Co-founder and Women’s Health & Cervical Cancer Awareness Officer), Diljeet Singh (Clinical Reseach Director), Diba Salimi (Senior Product Designer), and Matt Shaxted (Business Development and Product Engineer).

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE: Cerviva has the following advantages over the pap smear test which is 90 years old and continues to be the only tool used to screen for cervical cancer: Accuracy–90% rate of detection versus 50%; Comfort–Cerviva is painless. A pap smear test is painful and even harmful; Ease-of-Use–A pap smear test requires high-priced equipment and skilled technicians; Quicker–Test results in minutes versus a wait of 30 days; Cheaper–$5 vs. $65 per test.

PROOF OF CONCEPT: The prototype is complete but needs clinical validation and testing which is expected to take up to 3 years. Biological specimens are complex and must be tested repeatedly on humans. A patient may be influenced by other health factors which compromise the results of the test.

CUSTOMERS/USERS: Cerviva is pre-revenue.

STRATEGIC PARTNERS: Cervia was incubated by the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. They are a spinout company from Northwestern University. They receive office space, access to events, and free space in ‘1871.’ The M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas will provide test samples. They have many female immigrants as patients who have contracted the HPV virus which causes 98% of all cervical cancer. The rate of HPV virus is 10 times higher among the poor and newly-arrived immigrants. Cervia is also in talks with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

FUNDING: Cervia received a $100K research grant. They placed 2nd at the White Board Challenge and won $1,500. Cervia is seeking $500K for testing and clinical validation. Cervia pitched at Heartland Angels and Wildcat Angels and has spoken to two VC firms including DFJ Mercury. Solomon’s pediatric HIV test was funded by the Gates Foundation which, unfortunately, does not invest in any form of cancer research.

SUMMARY: Cervia needs to raise $500K for testing and clinical validation. That may take up to three years plus an additional two years to get to market. Most angels and VC’s will not be willing to wait a minimum of 5 years before seeing any return on their capital.


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