She’s Independent Invests in Astek Diagnostics’ Pre-Series A Round

She’s Independent, a member-led angel investing group committed to promoting equitable opportunities and fostering positive change for women, today announced a strategic investment in Astek Diagnostics. 

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BOULDER, Colo. and BALTIMORE (March 28, 2024) – Astek is on a mission to bring its JidduTM Analyzer, a groundbreaking urine-based diagnostic tool, to market in 2025. The Jiddu Analyzer is designed to rapidly identify urinary tract infections (UTIs) and assess antibiotic sensitivity within just one hour. This innovation addresses the urgent need for precise antibiotic matching, reducing instances of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) resulting from indiscriminate antibiotic use. 

Astek Co-founder and CEO Mustafa Al-Adhami said the vision for the device extends beyond UTIs and that the underlying technology has already been validated by the Astek team with three additional sample types — cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) with a focus on meningitis, effluent with a focus on surgical site infections, and blood with a focus on bacteremia.

She’s Independent’s investment follows Astek’s recent strategic partnership with MedStar Health, a $7.3 billion not-for-profit health-care system. This collaboration has generated substantial interest in Astek’s technology, which shows promise to significantly enhance the speed and accuracy of UTI diagnoses, thereby reducing patient discomfort, complications, and health-care costs.

“Women, particularly menopausal women and expectant mothers, are disproportionately affected by UTIs. In case of pregnancies, if a UTI is not diagnosed and treated early, it may lead to a kidney infection, which in turn can result in early labor, low birth weight, etc.” Al-Adhami said. “As a result, rapid UTI detection and precise antibiotic selection are crucial for women’s health. We believe our technology is a game-changer.”

“Astek’s technology excites a number of our investing members,” said Natalie Levy, founder and managing partner of She’s Independent.  “We’re thrilled to participate in this round and are really impressed with Mustafa and the company’s traction thus far.”

Al-Adhami said Astek’s other investors include Y Combinator, AYANA Capital, Wexford Scitech Venture Fund, Harvard Management Seed Capital, TEDCO, Maryland Momentum Fund, Goldin Ventures, Maryland Technology Development Corporation, Maryland Innovation Initiative, Maryland Industrial Partnerships, Key Technologies, Abell Foundation, etc. and prominent angel investors. Al-Adhami said Astek has also received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), the National Institute of Health (NIH), and others.

Astek is actively working toward FDA marketing authorization application (MAA) approval and has initiated collaborations with three independent urology clinics to demonstrate the feasibility of the Jiddu Analyzer in small clinical studies using real urine specimens. Astek recently initiated an early access program focused on urology clinics and hospitals in order to deploy the Jiddu Analyzer alpha prototype by mid-2024 in select locations. The program’s goal is to test the Jiddu Analyzer in various clinical environments, to collect data from diverse patient populations, to enable independent scientific publications to conduct external validation of the technology, and to accelerate FDA approval process of the device.

ABOUT SHE’S INDEPENDENT

She’s Independent is an angel investment group based in Boulder, Colorado, that aims to bring more women into the funding ecosystem and to support more women-focused startups. As a member-led investment group, She’s Independent offers an entirely new way to support women’s financial independence and influence through investments, access and education. The group’s goal is to close the power gap in investing by getting more women on the cap table, in the boardroom, and into positions of influence.

ABOUT ASTEK DIAGNOSTICS

Astek Diagnostics is a precision diagnostics company based in Baltimore that is developing the Jiddu Analyzer to confirm bacterial infections and assess antibiotic sensitivity across multiple sample types: urine, CSF, effluent, and blood. Astek has prioritized going to market in 2025 with a urine-based test which identifies a urinary tract infection and detects antibiotic sensitivity in one hour. The company is part of the Y Combinator (S21) and has received support from Harvard University, NSF, FDA, BARDA, NIH and numerous VC funds and angel investors. 

MEDIA CONTACTS:

She’s Independent
[email protected]

Astek Diagnostics
[email protected]