New test protects mother and child

MOMM Diagnostics has developed a fast and precise test for diagnosing preeclampsia. It analyzes two biomarkers in a pregnant woman’s blood and can be easily carried out in a doctor’s office.

MOMM Diagnostics develops a new test that offers pregnant women precise and rapid certainty. Image Credit: Unsplash

The Basel company MOMM Diagnostics, which is based in the Technologiepark Basel, has developed a simple and precise test that can diagnose preeclampsia in a matter of minutes. By providing certainty in such a short period of time, the test can also prevent unnecessary hospitalizations. MOMM Diagnostics is a new spin-off of the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa).

“We are analyzing two very specific biomarkers in the maternal blood,” Mathias Wipf, CEO and co-founder of MOMM Diagnostics, said in a press release from the Swiss government, which recognizes the value of the test as much as Empa does.

As the Swiss government writes, “the elegant thing about it is that the tiny biosensor for detecting the markers is printed on a paper strip”. All that is needed to detect the molecules is a drop of blood from the mother’s finger.  

The system resembles a pregnancy test, but the results are analyzed electronically onsite using a compact reader. This means that the test can be carried out in a gynecologist’s practice, doing away with the need to ship blood samples to a specialized diagnostics lab.

“This allows us to individually assess the risk of the expectant mother at an early stage,” said Markus Hodel, Head of Obstetrics and Fetomaternal Medicine at the Kantonsspital Luzern.

A study involving Hodel’s team shows that a sensitive test such as the new MOMM biosensor technology, which can be carried out directly in a doctor’s office, has significant savings potential. In Switzerland, around CHF 2 million in healthcare costs could be saved annually with such a system.

A patent has already been applied for in the US, but MOMM Diagnostics is already receiving attention in Switzerland, too. It recently participated in the Venture Mentoring program run by the business development agency And from 2020, new investors can join the startup company.

The biosensor test is expected to be ready to hit the market by 2023. Wipf expects double-digit million sales figures within the first five years alone.

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