Linus Biotechnology: One Spare Hair Can Gauge Autism Disorder in Children

Over a year after its launch, research company Linus Biotechnology has raked in $16 million in VC financing for R&D efforts surrounding its incredible innovation in the autism diagnosis space. Linus has been working with research from Mount Sinai Health System to develop a method for predicting children’s chances of autism with just a single strand of their hair. As of now, given that there is no standardized, child-biology-based way to assess presence of the condition, it is usually diagnosed later in life via simple behavioral observation.

The Linus team will leverage the new funding to augment its staff as well as enable the “tangible outcomes” and clinical data required to follow through with its diagnostic test, which is said to be able to detect autism as early as right after birth. “We chose to focus on autism first for many considerations, an important one of them is the dramatically different trajectory in case of an early detection and effective intervention,” said the company’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Manish Arora. “The impact on the patient and the patient’s family can be substantial.”

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The company has already introduced the StrandDx™ test for autism spectrum disorder, which received the FDA’s breakthrough device designation and can evaluate the likelihood of the condition by scouting out molecular fingerprints that the environment “leaves” on the human body. This methodology leans into the “nurture” side of child development, and the effect the exposome — the measure of all the exposures of an individual in a lifetime and how those exposures relate to health — has on these types of conditions.