Life Sciences Insight

BD acquires smartphone-powered COVID test partner Scanwell Health

After working this past year to pair up its rapid COVID-19 antigen test with digital smartphone capabilities, BD is making its relationship with Scanwell Health official. 

The medtech giant acquired Scanwell and announced plans to fold the tech developer into its integrated diagnostic solutions business but did not disclose the buyout deal amount.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to new care settings, and BD is ready to deliver a smart, connected at-home diagnostic ecosystem to support traditional and telehealth providers and consumers,” BD’s life sciences president, Dave Hickey, said in a statement.

Bringing Scanwell in-house will provide a platform for the development of automated tests beyond COVID-19, including self-performed diagnostics for a range of infectious diseases such as influenza A and B, strep throat and more as well as other tests aimed at chronic conditions.

BD Scanwell COVID test
Scanwell’s smartphone app analyzes rapid test results for a more objective reading. (BD)

The company’s apps use the smartphone’s camera to capture a picture of rapid, lateral-flow tests and analyze the image to deliver a more objective positive or negative result. 

Other home diagnostics may use smartphones as part of the testing process—by providing step-by-step instructions and timers, for example—but Scanwell’s app is being pitched as a key step forward for the field, according to BD. 

The company has been working since February to incorporate the program with its Veritor rapid testing system, which launched this fall. The app also has the ability to store and report test results to businesses, schools, travel authorities and public health organizations.

The deal with Scanwell marks BD’s third acquisition this month to help kick off its 2022 fiscal year, following transactions for venous ablation catheter maker Venclose and surgical wound sealant maker Tissuemed. Venclose represents a new market for its venous therapy portfolio, with the addition of treatments for varicose veins, while U.K.-based Tissuemed aims to broaden BD’s surgical offerings beyond the U.S.

At the same time, the medtech company took more steps toward letting go of its diabetes care business, finalizing the name and senior leadership roster for its billion-dollar spinoff. Embecta is set to launch as a publicly traded brand in the second quarter of 2022 after almost a century of supplying a portfolio of insulin pens and syringes under the BD banner.

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