Merck Leads $10M Funding of HIV Diagnostics Firm Daktari

By Arlene Weintraub, Xconomy

Cambridge, MA-based Daktari Diagnostics announced in late December that it has raised $10 million in financing from a syndicate of private and venture firms. The funding round was led by Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, a unit of Whitehouse Station, NJ-based Merck (NYSE: MRK). Also participating in this funding round were Daktari’s existing investors, Norwich Ventures and the Partners Innovation Fund.

Daktari’s technology can analyze small quantities of blood and other fluids. The company developed a cell-counting system that’s portable and doesn’t require the lenses, cameras, or filters commonly used in other diagnostics systems. The company says it will use the recent funding to market its first products, which are designed to monitor patients with HIV.

Merck Global Health Innovation Fund was founded in 2010. According to its website, the $250 million fund fosters startups in six key areas, including health informatics and analytics, heath intervention, and “health productivity enablers.”