Kalium Health raises £950k to help patients with kidney disease

The Kalium Health team

Transforming the lives of millions of people with kidney and heart disease is the aim for a Tech Corridor company that has raised £950,000 in funding.

Kalium Health aims to help patients, and reduce total healthcare costs, by enabling blood electrolyte monitoring by anyone, anytime, anywhere. A spin-out from Cambridge University, its first product is a rapid, accurate test for blood potassium concentration based on a tiny drop of finger-prick blood. It will enable patients to seek treatment before complications arise and without the inconvenience, cost and delays associated with current testing methods.

The company has raised the cash in an oversubscribed seed funding round led by Cambridge Enterprise with participation from Kidney Research UK, Cambridge Angels and Martlet Capital, the investment arm of Marshall of Cambridge.

Fighting kidney disease

Kidney disease is increasingly recognised as a global health challenge. This is due to its association with diabetes and hypertension, which are on the rise, and to the disproportionately large cost of treatment. As the kidneys play a key role in maintaining normal levels of many electrolytes, imbalance is a common consequence of the disease.

Professor Fiona Karet, co-founder and chief medical officer of Kalium Health, is also a Professor of Nephrology (that’s kidney-related medicine, to you and me) at Cambridge University. Explaining the reasons for forming the company, she said: “Patients in my clinic who suffer ill health due to electrolyte imbalances were asking me why it was not possible for them to manage their condition better themselves. I realised that a clinically accurate self-test for blood potassium concentration would be a game-changer for them and for over-burdened healthcare providers”.

The investment will allow the company to accelerate its technology and product development plans. Kalium Health aims to launch its first test as an approved medical device within four years. The team has recently signed an agreement for larger laboratory and office space in Cambridge and has begun recruiting engineers and technicians, planning to double head count from four to eight during the first half of 2020.

Tom Collings, co-founder and chief executive officer, added: “Against the backdrop of an urgent clinical need and an under-served market, we have ideally positioned ourselves to commercialise our sensing technology. The ongoing shift in clinical practice towards digital healthcare and precision medicine presents a huge opportunity for us to develop our personalised electrolyte monitoring technology for kidney disease. We now welcome a fantastic group of investors who share our vision and passion and we
are excited to enter a new phase of growth of the company”.