Functional Fluidics, a startup led by founder and CEO Patrick Hines, has established a platform technology that assesses red blood cell health, which is making its way into clinical testing. Hines says the company was initially solely focused on making the test available to pharmaceutical companies that are developing therapeutics that affected the health of red blood cells, which he says is a first in the history of medicine.

"We've never modified the health of red blood cells through drug therapy," Hines says. "Prior to that, it was really transfusing new red blood cells if you didn't have enough. and if they weren't functioning correctly, there really wasn't a good way to address that specific problem. Thus, there weren't any diagnostic tools that we had available that could tell us what the specific issues were with the health of your red blood cells. So, with that changing and the market changing, we saw an opportunity with the diagnostics that we'd been working on for a long, long time to really address a major need that we identified in both the pharmaceutical and clinical market."

To help take its mission to market, the company recently raised a $3.1 million bridge to an A round that the company closed at the end of 2021.

"With those funds, we were able to expand the clinical sites that we're currently accessing as a part of our pilot," he says. "And that's important because in order to show utilization, we need to expand into other geographies, particularly when it comes to Medicaid, because that's a state-based payment structure where we need to, before we can even have the conversation about reimbursement, we need to show that there's a need, a demand, and there's utilization. That really gets us access so we can have the conversation with those payers, particularly Medicaid payers, about reimbursement. So, that's one of the big things that those funds allowed us to do is to expand into other markets both within the states that we're in right now and in new states that we think are critical to our ability to get adoption in key markets."

Hines spoke on the Smart Business Dealmakers Podcast about his company, its progress and fundraising.