In August 2023, Rapidemic joined BII’s Venture Lab program. The start-up was founded in the Netherlands, and we chatted with the team to understand the company’s mission and vision.
Which problems do you aim to solve?
More than 375 million individual infections with sexually transmitted infections (STI) are acquired every single year. Most of these infections are caused by two preventable and treatable bacterial infections: Chlamydia (CT) and gonorrhea (NG). Patients infected with these diseases experience symptoms that can be highly uncomfortable. CT and NG infections also disproportionately affect women, as asymptomatic infections or a delay in treatment administration can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID, in 15% of cases), increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy and tubal infertility.
The current diagnostic options out there for patients have important drawbacks. Healthcare practitioners often find themselves having to make an unfair trade-off between the accuracy of the results and the speed at which they can treat a patient, where this can last up to several weeks.
We therefore set out to develop a novel molecular diagnostic device to make diagnosis of infectious diseases much more accessible, faster, and comfortable for patients while maintaining a high degree of accuracy. Our first product will be a near-patient test for the diagnosis of STIs.
What inspired you to embark on an entrepreneurial journey?
We are passionate about exciting science and innovation. Our origins lie in molecular and synthetic biology, where we started playing around with early concepts for an assay a few years ago. The project then grew very organically into a venture. Our team was attracted by using science to solve problems and performing cross-disciplinary research to address pressing unmet needs. Furthermore, we also share a passion for human and public health. So, investing our efforts into the mission of Rapidemic was a very natural thing to do.
How do you differentiate yourself from others, and how do you make a difference?
Get in, get tested, get out.
With the Rapidemic assay, healthcare professionals can get a patient’s results in under 15 minutes, the time of a visit at the clinic. This helps guide treatment decisions and provide immediate treatment (instead of a week delay on average) while drastically improving the patient’s experience in the clinic. Our test is easy to use and fully equipment-free, perfectly fitting into existing care pathways. The Rapidemic’s test single-use format is also beneficial as clinics do not have to invest in bulky and expensive equipment.
The Rapidemic test also supports public health efforts to mediate the spread of STIs in communities by bringing diagnostics closer to patients in high-risk groups, lowering the threshold to test, and annihilating further spread of infections in the community.
A win for patients, healthcare professionals, and public health.
Which milestones do you need to achieve during the Venture Lab program?
Our time in BII’s Venture Lab program will be dedicated to consolidation and validation. We are building our prototype and working towards an assay freeze for our first assay. We will use this to generate our preclinical data. In the meantime, we are working to build an A-level team to fast-track our development to the market.
How do you benefit from being part of BII’s community?
We have been impressed with the highly curated resources that BII provides to its portfolio companies. The facilities are top-notch, and the quality of the community is incomparable. BII supports us with tailored coaching and feedback and proactively matches us with investors. Lastly, we are happy to be part of a place that financially supports and raises awareness about innovation in women’s health through its Women’s Health Initiative, partially supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.