Posted June 6, 2023
University System of Maryland Momentum Fund Invests in Astek Diagnostics, Joins Wexford SciTech Fund, Ayana Capital, and Other Leading Investors
Astek, a Medical Device Company, Commercializing a Bacterial Infection Detection Technology
Baltimore, Md. (June 6, 2023) – Astek Diagnostics, Inc. ("Astek"), a Baltimore-based medical device company, announced today that it closed a seed funding round to support its development of a tabletop device to rapidly detect urinary tract infections (UTIs) and antibiotic sensitivity. The round was led by the Wexford SciTech Venture Fund, with participation from the University System of Maryland (USM) Momentum Fund, Ayana Capital, TEDCO, and leading medtech angel investors.
“We’re excited to use this financing to drive our product forward,” said Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Mustafa Al-Adhami, PhD. “We’re grateful to have Wexford, the Momentum Fund, Ayana Capital, and our other investors join us as we work to improve patient care and health outcomes with our rapid diagnostic testing platform.”
UTIs affect 13 million Americans every year. The current standard of care is to begin antibiotics before antibiotic sensitivity information is available. The inappropriate use of antibiotics contributes to the rise in bacterial resistance and the increased risk of difficult to treat infections and sepsis. Astek's patented device provides point-of-care testing, accurately confirming antibiotic sensitivity of the infection. This aids in selecting an effective treatment and is crucial for avoiding complications from untreated or improperly treated UTIs.
“The Wexford SciTech Venture Fund was pleased to lead this funding round for Astek Diagnostics,” said Thomas Osha, executive vice president of Wexford Science and Technology, LLC and president of the Wexford SciTech Venture Fund. “Investing in Astek and their novel approach for early detection and accurate diagnosis means clinicians can identify and treat UTIs swiftly, preventing complications and reducing the burden on individuals and healthcare systems."
“We’re delighted to join Wexford and Ayana Capital in support of the Astek team as they seek to revolutionize point-of-care diagnostics,” said Mike Ravenscroft, managing director of the Momentum Fund. “Along with our investment, we’re proud to support the company as a clinical partner at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Mustafa plans to leverage resources from USM to build and scale his venture, and we look forward to helping him and his team build the company right here in Maryland.”
After immigrating to the United States from Iraq in 2013, Dr. Al-Adhami earned his master's and doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Inspired by his grandfather's battle with UTIs and antibiotic resistance, he developed the technology behind Astek. Astek’s first product, Jiddu, aims to address the needs of the millions of Americans diagnosed with UTIs annually who are facing significant pain and complications.
“We are glad for the support in Maryland. An initial investment from TEDCO transformed me from a scientist into a founder,” said Dr. Al-Adhami. “We are so fortunate to be surrounded by the best hospitals in the world and we are proud to call some of them partners. Baltimore's diverse culture and rich history have captured my imagination, fostering inspiration at every turn.”
Dr. Al-Adhami joined the 2023 class of Mindshare, a prestigious, invite-only network of leading CEOs from high growth technology startups in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) region. Astek was also selected for the Y Combinator Summer 2021 cohort. Several of the company’s core team members are graduates of UMBC, and Astek actively collaborates with University of Maryland, Baltimore physicians and scientists for clinical studies. As the company develops its technology and expands operations, Dr. Al-Adhami plans to seek out commercial partnerships with local companies in Baltimore.
“We could not be more excited to see Astek raise this financing and come one step closer to realizing their vision for their life-saving diagnostic platform,” said Greg Simmons, vice president for Institutional Advancement at UMBC. “Mustafa has been a valued member of the UMBC community for a long time – first as a student where he developed his technology, and now as an entrepreneur partnering with our technology transfer team and other UMBC partners. We look forward to continuing to be a part of Astek's journey towards improving health outcomes."
About Astek Diagnostics
Astek Diagnostics Inc. was founded in 2020 to commercialize diagnostics for rapid antibiotic sensitivity. Astek is backed by Y Combinator, TEDCO, Wexford SciTech Capital Fund, Maryland Momentum Fund, and is a J&J JLABS Blue Knight company.
About the University System of Maryland Momentum Fund
The Maryland Momentum Fund is an initiative of the University System of Maryland (USM) to provide late seed investment funding for promising technology ventures that come out of any of the 12 constituent USM institutions, its research parks, and its students, faculty, or graduates. With a $16M commitment from the USM, the Fund co-invests alongside venture capitalists, foundations, and angel investors.
The Maryland Momentum Fund was established by the USM Board of Regents to support promising commercial opportunities arising from advances in research and intellectual property at USM campuses. The Fund is designed to create returns and support USM’s most innovative ideas as they enter the marketplace. Learn more about the Fund and view the portfolio companies at https://momentum.usmd.edu/
Mustafa Al-Adhami, PhD
Maryland Momentum Fund