HemaChrome wins phase 1 of NIH Maternal Health Challenge


HemaChrom, a digital startup company measuring blood hemoglobin levels with smartphone technology, has won phase 1 of the National Institutes of Health’s RADx Tech for Maternal Health Challenge.

A digital health startup company known as HemaChrome recently won phase 1 of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) RADx Tech for Maternal Health Challenge.

Their winning smartphone technology is capable of measuring blood hemoglobin levels instantly and noninvasively. Young Kim, MD, founder and chief science officer of HemaChrome, developed the technology.

“Blood hemoglobin tests are among the most common laboratory tests because they are an indicator of a variety of diseases and disorders,” Kim said. “In fact, they are the most common laboratory tests conducted among obstetric patients. However, more than 2.2 million childbearing women in the U.S. have limited access to such testing.

According to Kim, invasive and expensive venous blood draws are often used to perform blood hemoglobin tests, needing high end equipment and trained professionals to complete the tests on-site. Using the app, blood hemoglobin tests will be available to everyone and easily accessible, with less barriers and a reduced cost.

A cash prize was rewarded to HemaChrome for winning phase 1 of the challenge. The technical and commercial viability of their product was tested by a panel of medical, scientific, and business experts. Now, they will receive in-house and in-kind support from the NIH which will speed the development, validation, and commercialization of the technology.

In the time leading to phase 2 of the challenge, biweekly meetings will occur between HemaChrome and NIH RADx experts.

“We are working with the NIH RADx team to identify and mitigate key risk factors for the accelerated development and implementation of our technology,” Kim said. “If we progress to the next phase, we will work with them to independently test and verify our technology’s performance and usability.

Kim’s research has been published in journals such as the November 2022 issue of Blood and the June 2020 issue of Optica, and he plans to write further papers and conduct future clinical studies.


Purdue-connected digital health startup wins phase 1 of NIH competition for maternal health. Purdue University. February 15, 2023. Accessed March 8, 2023. https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2023/Q1/purdue-connected-digital-health-startup-wins-phase-1-of-nih-competition-for-maternal-health.html

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