Interview of Oliver Ballcells, RheODx, in Sifted

Theranos failed hard, but did it also prove the market? Meet de founders building blood test startups in a post-Theranos world. 


Oliver Balcells Navarro, RheoDX (€350K raised)

RheoDX was founded in Barcelona, Spain, in 2018, and has already won awards from the European Commission. It raised €350K this year on Spanish investment platform Capital Cell (the first in Europe to specialise in biomedicine). Its patented technology is backed by half a dozen published papers and it has partnered with The Institute of Leukemia Josep Carreras (IJC). It aims to complete clinical trials by 2021, with its first sales later that year and FDA Approval in 2022.

On raising, post-Theranos 

Investors are wary of investing in ‘medtech’ companies in general, given the sheer amount of money they need to start-up and arrive at market.

But if you have great technology, you solve a patient need, you have a great team, then many investors will show their interest.

On building trust

Know your audience. The audience, in this case, are the investors. Before you speak or try to communicate, take the time out to discover what’s on audience members’ minds. If you don’t address their immediate concerns, they will be less open to your message. Once you have this clear then prepare and adapt your message to them. You have always to update and improve the way you share your project with the investors

On Theranos’ impact

It had no special influence in Europe.

Innovators, like us, who seek to revolutionize and disrupt an industry must tell investors the truth about what their technology can do today, not just what they hope it might do someday.

On the future of blood-testing

There will be a growth in Point of Care (POC), with an increase of home health care in developed countries, the introduction of regulatory measures to favour the POC diagnosis, the growth in the prevalence of infectious diseases and a lack of qualified personnel in the area of clinical diagnosis.

There will also be a growth in need for RheoDx with a high prevalence of infectious diseases in developing countries and increasing prevalence of chronic disorders coupled with a rising geriatric population and rising preference for home healthcare across the globe.

The volume of testing performed outside the conventional laboratory will undoubtedly grow and will continue to be driven by the need to deliver care faster, closer to the patient and at a lower cost.