Scaling is tough for any firm. However when your small business is primed for Covid-19, progress may be as viral because the illness.
That is the case for Cue Well being, a San Diego-based well being care know-how firm that develops transportable diagnostic assessments for institutional and at-home use. Based in 2010, the corporate’s principal product, a molecular Covid-19 check, is now the go-to choice for Google, Salesforce, the NBA, MLB, Netflix, NASA, and different organizations. The product boasts the velocity of speedy antigen assessments with the lab-quality accuracy of PCR assessments, the corporate says, which means it may well detect each symptomatic and asymptomatic instances, together with the Omicron variant, in simply 20 minutes.
Cue’s assessments work by concentrating on a area of the nucleocapsid gene (“N gene”) that’s extremely conserved, which the corporate says permits the check’s accuracy to stay unaffected by the mutations within the Covid-19 variants. Cue’s product was additionally constructed to be modular and versatile to adapt to future care choices that may work with the Cue Reader.
Cue’s in a single day success was a decade within the making. Co-founder and CEO Ayub Khattak was impressed to begin Cue in the course of the H1N1 (swine flu) outbreak in spring of 2009. The CDC estimates that from April 2009 to April 2010, there have been roughly 60.8 million instances. Khattak realized that if prospects may check themselves utilizing at-home diagnostics, and talk these outcomes to a health care provider by way of an app, people could possibly be identified quicker, get correct care, and cut back the potential unfold of an infection.
“All these individuals had been flooding into emergency rooms and pressing cares, the place they’d must combat 100 different individuals to be seen and given a prognosis,” Khattak remembers. “Folks ought to be capable to discover out this data simply at dwelling, particularly these with out signs.”
He was enthusiastic about this downside when he met co-founder Clint Sever, a product designer and his neighbor in Santa Monica, on the time the place they had been each ending up college. One thing instantly clicked.
They procured greater than $1 million in seed funding for analysis and improvement and continued to lift funds over time: $7.5 million in Collection A in 2014, over $45 million in Collection B in 2018, and a $100 million Collection C in 2020. By the point Covid-19 hit, they had been nearly achieved growing the product. Cue had simply began its medical examine to check for the flu, which the corporate was conducting in partnership with the Biomedical Superior Analysis and Improvement Authority (Barda), the U.S. Division of Well being and Human Providers workplace chargeable for procuring and growing medical countermeasures.
Cue’s Covid-19 check was given emergency use authorization (EAU) for skilled use in June 2020. That 12 months, the corporate generated roughly $23 million in income, together with $15.4 million from product gross sales. It then grew to become the primary molecular check to win EAU on March 5, 2021, from the Meals and Drug Administration for at-home and over-the-counter use and not using a prescription. The corporate reported preliminary full 12 months 2021 income of $613 million to $618 million. Whereas the corporate has not but publicly reported its outlook for 2022, Cue has delivered hundreds of thousands of assessments so far, that are being utilized in colleges, nursing houses, correctional services, hospitals, group well being clinics, and personal firms.
“Companies across the globe are on the lookout for the most effective methods for his or her staff, prospects, and companions to get collectively, safely,” Bret Taylor, co-CEO of Salesforce, stated in a press launch concerning the firm’s partnership with Cue. “Testing is the trail ahead, and Security Cloud (a subset of Salesforce that helps with Covid-19 testing and well being and security protocols) permits organizations of all sorts to take the complexity out of occasions, and produce individuals collectively once more with confidence.”
The check’s boosted accuracy and velocity come at a value. The check reader alone is $249, and the assessments value $65. The corporate additionally affords two subscription tiers that vary from $39.99 to $74.99 that embody 10 or 20 check cartridges, respectively (and reductions on further ones), free same- or next-day supply, and a reduction on the reader gadget. That compares with the BinaxNOW Covid-19 Antigen Self Take a look at, which prices $23.99, and the Ellume Covid-19 Dwelling Take a look at, which prices $38.99. Whereas equally as quick as Cue’s, different antigen assessments aren’t as correct, and a few have been recalled over the previous 12 months for false positives and inaccurate outcomes.
Ramping up and increasing out
Cue went public final September, with a valuation of practically $2.3 billion. However because the pandemic has waned, to not point out shares normally, the corporate’s market cap has retreated to a latest $1.22 billion.
Khattak attributes the corporate’s success partially to the event of its provide chain, which Cue created from scratch, a transfer essential for the extra built-in product it wished to create. The corporate needed to develop a extra complicated manufacturing and product design, making its personal enzymes and primers and cartridge meeting — processes he says which might be generally outsourced.
“We developed a complete community right here within the U.S., in order that we may have a protected, home provide chain,” says Khattak. “We embraced a a lot bigger scope than most youthful firms from the beginning, and now it is an enormous benefit.” Cue at present has roughly 1,600 staff and eight services nationally.
Cue was by no means designed round a single illness, and persevering with success will imply diversifying because the pandemic transitions to an endemic. The worldwide Covid-19 diagnostics market is projected to drop from $20.05 billion in 2021 to $9.20 billion by 2028, in accordance with a examine by Fortune Enterprise Insights. Khattak says whereas Cue will proceed to supply Covid-19 assessments, particularly as extra variants pop up, the objective is to supply a simple testing resolution for quite a lot of sicknesses. This entails extra services throughout classes resembling respiratory well being, sexual well being, cardiac and metabolic well being, and persistent illness administration.
“Folks have such an issue accessing well being data. There are a number of layers of logistics and gatekeeping to get every bit of information in a single place in actual time,” says Khattak, “and it’s best to be capable to do this with crucial factor you wish to know, which is your well being.”