Mason Biohealth Start-up Mobility Health Launches Mobile Infectious Disease Testing Business
City of Mason identifies translational lab space in Mason Tech Elevator
to help company scale and serve corporate manufacturing community
MASON, OH – January 6, 2021 – Mobility Health, a biohealth start-up located at 5155 Financial Way, one of three Mason Tech Elevator campuses, launched its mobile infectious disease testing laboratory, offering businesses and organizations a highly-accurate, rapid COVID-19 test to protect employees and customers. On Monday, Jan. 4, Mobility Health’s mobile lab performed testing at a Mason-based manufacturing company on three shifts of employees as they returned from the holiday break. Overall, more than 250 employees were tested with results delivered the same day.
Sandra Gunselman, Ph.D., who founded Mobility Health and serves as president and CEO, was the vice president of lab operations for Assurex Health, a successful Mason biohealth start-up in pharmacogenetics, that eventually was purchased by Myriad Genetics.
“The idea for Mobility Health really came to me as I was watching the news back in January about the pandemic,” said Gunselman. “Testing was inaccurate, but it was all we had. As I talked with colleagues around the world, I just knew it could be done better and was imperative to stop the spread. Finding the best rapid technology out there, validating it, and making it available in a mobile lab seemed like the ideal solution.”
Mobility Health is the first company to market with a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) test for SARS-CoV-2 – which causes COVID-19 – which is more accurate and faster than other tests, according to Gunselman. “We went through a rigorous validation process based on CDC and CMS guidelines to confirm the accuracy of this rapid test before taking it to market,” she said. “Not only were we able to show higher accuracy (100% specificity – no false negatives) and (99% sensitivity – fewer false positives) than other tests on the market, but we showed strong reproducibility and robustness, meaning we can replicate the test across different equipment and technicians with the same results. The test is a mid-turbinate nasal swab with results available in about 2 hours.”
Gunselman noted that the LAMP test was designed anticipating there would be variants of the COVID-19 virus, as recently discovered. As a result, the test is not affected by the virus variants and still performs at the same level of accuracy and precision. In contrast, the typical polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on the market ranges from 24 hours to several days for results and has a 90-97% sensitivity rate and 98% specificity.
“When I made the decision to start the company and considered where to locate, Mason was the obvious choice. It was an amazing experience working with the City while I was at Assurex, and I knew they had the talent pipeline, the attractive location for recruitment, and the network of biohealth experts and community partners to help me. It has turned out to be a brilliant choice,” said Gunselman.
“This is an exciting addition to our biohub,” said Michele Blair, director of economic development for the City of Mason. “We have a lot of experience and momentum now helping rapid-growth companies scale, and with a critical mass of like-minded scientists, we’ve developed a living lab that leverages our resources and partnerships to support initial data mining and proof of concept.”
Mobility Health’s first engagement will help provide proof of concept data as the company continues to grow and expand. The company is in early discussions with investors regarding an initial funding round, according to Gunselman. Next year, Mobility Health will have the ability to test individuals attending events and send results to cell phones via QR code that can be scanned to confirm a negative result before entering. Mobility Health is developing a full panel of infectious diseases, including influenza A, B, rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza, and others.
As a hub for biohealth technology and innovation, the City of Mason worked closely with Mobility Health and helped the company secure space in the Mason Tech Elevator. This unique platform fosters an environment where young growth companies with scalable technology, particularly those focused on solving complex population health challenges, have access to resources and talent to bring new concepts to market.
About Mobility Health – Mobility Health is a biohealth diagnostic company focused on providing accurate, rapid testing of infectious diseases in a mobile environment to protect population health and safety. Established in 2020, the company serves industries and organizations on-site to provide confidence to employees, event attendees, and communities at-large of their health status for specific infectious diseases. Current testing panel includes: COVID-19 (SARS-CoV2) and plans to launch testing for three strains of Influenza A, Influenza B, Rhinovirus, Respiratory Syncytial virus (A/B), Parainfluenza viruses 1-4, Adenovirus, Human Bocavirus, Measles, Virus, and Mycoplasma spp in 2021. More information at www.mobilityhealthlab.com.
About the City of Mason, Ohio – As the largest city in Warren County and part of the Greater Cincinnati region in southwest Ohio, Mason, is nationally recognized for its low cost of living, award-winning schools, and intentional culture of wellness. Mason has a strong small business community and is an established hub for bioscience innovation, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and technology companies. Mason’s economic development mission is focused on attracting and supporting the growth of top companies and creating jobs in these sectors, while also leveraging partnerships to attract foreign direct investment. For more information about the City of Mason, visit www.whymason.com or www.imaginemason.org.