YC Companies Responding to COVID-19

More than 25 YC bio and healthcare companies are helping with the COVID-19 crisis, whether to produce better tests, treatments and vaccines, or resources for hospitals and health systems.

Many of these companies need additional talent, introductions to experts and hospitals, and capital to rapidly scale up their efforts. Please get in touch with these companies if you can help.

Companies fighting COVID-19

Tests & Diagnostics

Rapid low-cost test for COVID-19

Find™ COVID19 is a screening and triage test for patients suspected of being infected with the SARS-CoV2 virus. It's an ultra-low-cost test that just uses a paper strip and a smartphone, no lab equipment required. In clinical trials now, launching in May. Customers lined up in Indonesia, Paraguay, Chile, Colombia, and Peru.

How you can help

FDA emergency use authorization / Virus-like particles with spike protein for test validation / Funding to accelerate product launch

Rapid Field Test for COVID-19

Synkrino Biotherapeutics is building a rapid, portable field test for the RNA virus 2019-nCoV/COVID-19, adapting our existing lab and analytic protocols for the rapid detection of this RNA virus.

This rapid screening system will be launched for community public health screening in order to

  1. Determine the community prevalence of 2019-nCoV/COVID-19 infection (focus on asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic). The prevalence is currently unknown.

  2. The rapid, portable field test is being built to rapidly screen and clear populations prior to re-entering work, school and other institutions. Referring others to confirmatory testing, and into care.

How you can help

We are seeking funding partners for this project. We are also seeking help with sourcing of key reagents for the rapid implementation and scale-up. This includes RNA isolation, and other items.

Better and high-throughput testing for COVID-19 using existing devices

BillionToOne has repurposed their technology currently used for prenatal genetic tests to create a new test for COVID-19. The BillionToOne test uses Sanger sequencing, the devices that are already widespread. They will publish a COVID-19 diagnostic that other labs can use to unlock >1,000,000 tests per day capacity.

How you can help They are looking for contract kit manufacturing of primers, oligos, RNA spike-ins etc. OR (preferably) introduction to a large partner, e.g., Thermo Fisher, that may want to take over EUA process + kit manufacturing for faster and wider distribution. Also, introductions to other testing laboratories such as Quest, LabCorp, BioReference can accelerate the distribution.

Smartphone-based point-of-care test for SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 immunity

We're developing, towards FDA EUA, a 15-minute point-of-care test for the simultaneous detection of SARS-CoV-2 virus from respiratory samples (to diagnose active COVID-19 infection) and anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG/IgM antibodies from finger-stick blood (to test for COVID-19 immunity).

Our diagnostic platform enables orders-of-magnitude lower limits of detection compared to visual-readout strip tests—and therefore higher clinical sensitivities—using only a smartphone’s optics paired with an inexpensive adapter and app for readout. This sensitivity enhancement is expected to result in our rapid test approach RT-PCR's accuracy for virus detection and match lab-based ELISAs' accuracy for serology.

As the pandemic evolves or, worse, returns in a second wave later this year, we think our rapid duplex test for the virus and immunity will be a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19. This project's timeline to FDA EUA is ~3 months from when it is fully funded. We intend to later seek FDA approval for home use of this test, perhaps in combination with our in-development product for at-home flu testing.

What we need

  • Funding to support assay development, launch, and scale-up
  • Access to inactivated whole virus for use in BSL-2 assay development and/or native purified SARS-CoV-2 antigens
  • High-affinity antibodies specific for CoV-2 antigens for consideration as diagnostic reagents in addition to our current sources

Treatments & Vaccines

Drug for ARDS, a complication of COVID-19

Gen1E Lifesciences is making a drug to treat Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).

67% of serious covid-19 patients have ARDS (lancet feb 2020), and is the leading cause of death (Lancet, March 2020). ARDS is what happens when the immune system reacts so strongly that the lungs fill with fluid and the patient is unable to breathe.

There is no approved drug for ARDS, and a 40% mortality rate, which was a major health problem even before covid. Gen1E Lifesciences has been working on the first drug for it for over 2 years, so we already have a lead molecule and are ready to start clinical trials ASAP.

We are raising money to accelerate our clinical trial schedule and start treating covid patients immediately. We are looking to raise upto $10M Series A. This money will help us complete our Phase 1 and Phase 2 patient clinical studies.

Computational design of novel antibody drug for COVID-19

Macromoltek is a world leader in in silico antibody designs. We have launched specific programs focused on solving the COVID-19 pandemic. We have built this bleeding-edge technology over the last eight years and our computational methods are both accurate and validated in vitro.

Macromoltek has designed a pool of virtual candidate antibodies to prevent COVID-19 from infiltrating cells and started testing for in vitro activity. These antibodies may be used as a prophylactic to prevent front-line workers from being infected or to improve outcomes for those already affected.

What we're looking for

1 - Partners for in vivo studies of our antibody candidates against live virus

2 - Methods for faster DNA synthesis and/or protein expression to reduce the turnaround time between computational candidates and in vitro screening

3 - Funding for expedited testing

Testing a repurposed drug against covid

YourChoice has launched ANA therapeutics to test an existing drug against COVID-19. There is strong in vitro data showing that this drug inhibits coronavirus replication more effectively than any of the other drugs recommended by the WHO.

Because this is an existing drug, they can go into clinical trials immediately. We are fundraising for the clinical trial.

We are actively looking for (1) clinical trials experts with an infectious disease background who can spearhead our upcoming clinical trials and (2) introductions to hospitals and other potential sites for these trials. We are also always interested in connecting with advisory experts in virology and further funding opportunities."

Vaccine for Covid-19

HelixNano is developing a multi-antigen mRNA vaccine for SARS-CoV-2. HelixNano was previously developing a cancer vaccine and realized that their core technology would work for covid as well. Their approach proactively counters the virus' rapid evolution by immunizing against multiple antigens.

We could use help with reagents for infectivity assays (e.g. pseudotyped virus with spike protein).

Using computational drug design to design drugs agains Covid

Atomwise does computational drug design. They are powering two efforts to find a new small molecule drug against covid.

How you can help

Please introduce us to groups working on designing novel small molecule drugs for COVID - we can greatly accelerate their timelines.

COVID Moonshot: An open-source platform to find a cure for Covid

PostEra is helping lead an international group of scientists from the University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Memorial Sloan Kettering and the Weizmann Institute to find an antiviral cure for COVID.

We are pursuing a new paradigm in drug discovery - open data without intellectual property constraints, and hosting a platform (https://covid.postera.ai/covid) where anyone in the world can submit a drug candidate. The consortium will then select the most promising submissions to make and test; PostEra uses its machine learning algorithms to assess which compounds can be made most easily and quickly.

How you can help

We are raising donations to make and test the best of the proposed compounds (https://www.gofundme.com/f/covidmoonshot) with all results uploaded live onto the platform. By donating you are directly funding research towards a cure.

Tools for Healthcare Providers

Free, Text-Based COVID Triage and Tracking System

Memora Health is providing health organizations with a free system for conducting text-based screening of COVID, connecting patients with a free telemedicine visit, answering common questions automatically, and aggregating metrics on how many patients are high-risk. This is helping to divert low-risk patients away from ERs and manage resource allocation between clinics.

Our team is looking for introductions to healthcare organizations to help them manage this outbreak and give people easy access to accurate information on COVID-19.

Lab robots for running COVID tests

Opentrons has built lab automation systems for running covid tests. Each system when deployed allows a lab to run up to 2,400 tests per day. In the first half of March they deployed more than 50 robots for covid testing to labs in the US and Europe, and are eager to deploy more places as well.

A.I. Assistant that instantly answers frontline medical staff questions on COVID-19

Empowering doctors and nurses around the world with free, instant access to evidence-based clinical information on COVID-19. Responds in English, Spanish and Indonesian. Built in 3 days.

How you can help

Funding & content partnerships with the WHO, NGOs, governments, hospitals, testing facilities, medical publishers and medical translators interested to support our effort to quickly disseminate COVID-19 information to frontline medical staff around the world.

CareRev helps hospitals hire nursing staff quickly

Many hospitals need to hire extra staff, primarily nurses and nursing assistants, urgently. CareRev's talent marketplace helps them find and hire additional help quickly.

How you can help

Please introduce us to any hospitals that need additional nursing staff.

Medinas Health is helping hospitals buy critically needed equipment & supplies

Medinas helps hospitals buy medial equipment & supplies. Many hospitals are experiencing unprecedented shortages of supplies of medical equipment - masks, ventilators, and more. Medinas is helping them buy the equipment they need from suppliers around the world. They are raising working capital to scale up faster.

Since 3/20 Medinas has helped place over 18mm masks with US hospitals.

How you can help

Medinas has a sub project called Mask-Match.com, which has over 974 donors who have signed up to ship 1,235,649 masks and 2,328 front line healthcare workers have signed up who need masks. If you have sources of supplies or know of hospitals that need masks, please send them there.

Flexport is helping ship critical supplies to hospitals around the world

There is a huge shortage of COVID-19 related relief items, particularly equipment needed by hospitals and healthcare workers. The Flexport.org Fund is supporting the sourcing and transport of supplies related to the coronavirus pandemic from where they are to the front-lines in hospitals where they are needed.

How you can help

You can join humanity's collective counter-attack against COVID by donating to http://Flexport.org. 100% of your tax-deductible donation goes toward shipping relief goods to where they're most needed.

Free text messaging for clinics serving low-income patients

CareMessage is the largest patient engagement platform for underserved patients. As a non-profit that is committed to improving access to healthcare for low-income patients, they are providing free text messaging for Community Health Clinics and Free Clinics all across the United States. Over 2.5 million COVID-19 messages have been sent since March 10 and the number keeps growing.

CareMessage is working in partnership with NACHC (National Association of Community Health Centers) and NAFC (National Association of Free Clinics) to make their product available to any organization that needs it. All COVID-19 message content they have created is also free to be used on any messaging platform.

How can I help?

CareMessage is a non-profit and is raising donations to support this essential work. They are also looking to be introduced to Community Health Centers or Free Clinics.

App for hospitalized covid patients to communicate with healthcare workers

With so many COVID patients hospitalized and PPEs in short supply, hospitals need to minimize contact between medical staff and patients.

With Patchd, hospitalized COVID patients who are relatively healthy can take their own measurements and have them sent back to the nurses station, this saves a nurse having to gown up and waste a set of PPE when coming in to see the patient just to take vitals. Patchd also provides bluetooth enabled pulse oximeters and temperature sensors that pair with the Patchd app and can be sent home with a patient, to help them self quarantine and share aggregate vital sign information remotely with a clinician (through a web app).

PatchD significantly reduces both patient contact and the amount of PPE that is used, and this is a solution that can scale infinitely since it is software only and requires no new equipment.

How you can help

Help us connect with even more hospitals who could use this.

Distributing protective equipment to healthcare providers

Osh is working with collaborators on ProjectN95. Project N95 is working with the federal and state governments to assist with the distribution of PPE.

How can I help?

Osh is seeking volunteers and government partners: https://www.projectn95.com/

Helping hospitals plan for the covid surge

Qventus works with leading health systems across the country to improve operations and drive more efficient patient flow. Qventus helps health systems with COVID-19 in two ways: (1) with a free epidemiological model that predicts COVID cases and capacity of key resources at a local (metropolitan) level on a daily basis; and (2) with AI-based interventions for COVID command centers, which provide leaders with situational awareness across the health system and allow them to optimize usage of critical resources such as Med-Surg beds, ICU beds, negative airflow isolation rooms, and ventilators.

How you can help

Please introduce us to hospitals, health systems, and departments of public health.

Clinical pathways for screening and hospitalizing COVID patients, integrated into your EHR, deployed in days, and updated in real time

We have a very short window to prepare for peak numbers of hospitalized COVID patients. New evidence is emerging daily and clinical staff are changing over quickly due to their own exposures, requiring quick adoption and dissemination of new practices to the frontlines. Email and PDF updates to clinical staff can’t keep pace.

AgileMD has successfully deployed COVID-19 clinical pathways for inpatient, ambulatory, and the emergency room workflows within the electronic health record. These pathways can be deployed and customized within the Epic or Cerner patient record using the AgileMD clinical decision support platform within a few days at no cost to the health system.

For more information, follow this link (https://agilemd.docsend.com/view/py673iu) or contact Gena Bezdek at gena.bezdek@agilemd.com or 331-642-8444.

We're offering our software and services free to any compatible hospitals facing COVID, and can deploy rapidly.

How you can help

Please introduce us to hospitals and health systems we can help.

COVID-19 home monitoring

END COVID-19 by AIRx Health is a monitoring and triage system that lets medical teams efficiently monitor their COVID-19 patients who are self-isolating at home.

This is an urgent problem as there will soon be a huge number of COVID-19 patients and shortage of hospital beds. Patients will be sent home to self-isolate and monitoring & triage tools will be needed for healthcare teams to adequately support patients.

Helping hospitals hire additional clinicians quickly during the Covid crisis

DirectShifts is a marketplace for hospitals that need doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners for short term shift work. They are working with many hospitals across the country that now have an urgent need for additional clinicians.

DirectShifts is waiving all fees for hospitals during this crisis and will provide at cost clinician staffing.

How you can help Please introduce us to hospitals, health systems and department of healths and we can help them hire additional staff quickly

Rapid training for frontline hospital staff

Elemeno Health is a team-based communication and just-in-time training system which helps healthcare institutions maintain COVID-19 readiness with frontline teams.

Keeping frontline nurses, docs, and staff informed with rapidly changing practices is a critical step in COVID-19 management. To meet the surge, the healthcare workforce must rapidly cross-train and assume new responsibilities. And doing so while protecting their own health is essential to sustaining capacity.

Elemeno Health is used by hospitals across the country including UCSF, Mass General, and El Camino.

How you can help

  • Introductions to hospitals, large clinic systems, post-acute care facilities, large senior care systems
  • Mid-level Marketing or moderately experience healthcare Sales
Tracking the spread of COVID-19 and optimizing response across regions

Akido is a public health data company, interfacing with data from health care and government services across 100+ US cities. Leveraging this proprietary network, Akido is powering a variety of COVID-19 response programs for health systems and public health agencies. These range from emergency services coordination, disease surveillance, stress monitoring, and testing coordination.

Tools for Researchers

Donating $25M worth of free DNA sequencing, synthesis, and cell engineering for covid programs

Ginkgo is donating $25M of free DNA sequencing, synthesis, and cell engineering to scale development efforts of covid-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines. We want to support small projects with innovative ideas in this space.

How you can help

Please let researchers working on COVID-19 projects know that Ginkgo has broad capabilities they can use for free to get work done quickly: see this post for details on how we can help.

Software for COVID-19 diagnostics, vaccine, and treatment work

How we can help

If you’re running COVID-19 testing and looking for a better way to run your lab logistics, track samples, and capture results, we'd be interested in helping you manage all of this on Benchling. Reach out to us at covid-19@benchling.com.

How you can help

Benchling has built a COVID-19 resources webpage that points to protocols, sequences, and other pertinent work contributed by scientists. If you are working on COVID-19 and have resources to share with the community, please submit them by following the instructions on the webpage.

We'll help you run a COVID-19 clinical trial

COVID-19 clinical trials must start quickly and reach patients wherever they are identified. Curebase is the only CRO that can launch nationwide clinical trials in a matter of weeks, using our own eClinical software and virtual trial designs. We can do trials for vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics. Our distributed approach can save 50% of cost over other CROs and scale up faster. As a startup, we move quickly and have worked with many great YC companies including Cofactor Genomics, Luminostics, and Quit Genius.

How you can help

Please introduce us to companies looking to run COVID-19 clinical trials.

We'll help you get FDA Emergency Use Authorization

Enzyme is offering free FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) consulting and free access to its electronic Quality Management System (eQMS) and or teams that are developing COVID-19-related solutions, such as diagnostics, respiratory support devices, and PPE.

How you can help

Please introduce us to teams needing Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) from FDA to market their COVID-19 related products.

Free analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genomics data

One Codex is offering free analysis and support for groups sequencing SARS-CoV-2 strains, including both clinical and public health laboratories. Our goal is to help researchers quickly analyze their genomics data and get it submitted to public databases used by epidemiologists like those behind Nextstrain. Viral phylogenetics can help us better understand how the virus is spreading as well as monitor for mutations that may affect its virulence or susceptibility to therapeutics.

How you can help Please introduce us to researchers working on SARS-CoV-2 genomics.

Consumer Health Services

At-home COVID-19 test

NURX has launched the first at-home covid-19 test. You can get a home test kit delivered overnight, use a throat swab to take a sample, send it back to them and get results within 48 hours.

Free telehealth covid-19 consultations for children

We are offering free coronavirus telehealth screenings for children in Florida. Parents can speak with a pediatrician for free if they are worried that their child might have the virus, we can advise them and let them know if their child is eligible for testing. If their child is eligible, we will route them to the appropriate testing facility based on their location. We have been in touch with the Department of Health to get this set up.

How you can help

  • Getting the word out about free screenings so we can help as many children as possible.
  • Capital to scale up free consultations
  • Introductions to Spanish/English bilingual pediatricians
Telemedicine and in-person COVID-19 testing

We have expanded our telemedicine offering to cover all of California, and should be national the week of 3/23. Patients can use us to get diagnoses, prescriptions, lab orders or COVID-19 screening. We also test for COVID-19 in San Francisco (limited supply). Everything we do is in network with the major insurance plans.

How you can help

Please help us spread our message to friends, family, social media.

Serological at-home test for COVID-19

Scanwell is working on getting at-home serological testing available in the US. We're using a test that was developed in China and already works; we just need to get it FDA approved so we launch it as a consumer service.

Unlike the PCR tests currently available which require a complex laboratory, serological tests can be done at home and don't need to be round-tripped back to labs.

Fundraising

A dozen investment firms have collectively pledged to invest more than $30M in companies pursuing COVID-19 programs in the coming weeks.

If you are an investor and interested in participating, please either reach out to companies directly or email jared@ycombinator.com. We are happy to make introductions.

Request for Startups

In order to confront the COVID-19 crisis, we need to immediately mobilize global scientific and technical talent. YC is ready to fund people working on this. We have added a new Request for Startups Responding to COVID-19.

Frequently Asked Questions

What about companies like Instacart and Outschool that are helping people who are sheltering-in-place?
There are many other YC companies that are doing invaluable work helping with other aspects of the disruption we are experiencing. This list is currently for companies responding to the healthcare challenge directly.
I'm working on a healthcare / biotech company that is doing something directly related to covid, can I get funding from YC?
Yes. The best way to get funding from YC is to read our Request for Startups Responding to COVID-19 and then apply to the next batch. We know that biotech companies tackling covid need funding urgently so we will fast-track those companies through our application process.