Sandstone Diagnostics Awarded $150,000 Federal Grant

Grant will help company develop equipment to quickly diagnose infants with life-threatening infections

LIVERMORE, CA – Sandstone Diagnostics, a company located in Livermore, was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to develop equipment that can quickly detect neonatal sepsis – a condition that accounts for nearly half of all newborn deaths in the United States.  The system will be used in neonatal intensive care units (NICU) for bedside monitoring of newborn infants.

“We are very excited to have received this grant. Neonatal sepsis is an enormous problem and the current methods for monitoring patients and diagnosing sepsis are not adequate,” said Greg Sommer, co-founder and CEO of Sandstone. “It’s extremely difficult to draw blood from a very small infant, and the child’s condition can change drastically within the days that it takes a laboratory to make a diagnosis.  Our system can run these tests in minutes rather than days using only a few drops, which is a major advancement over the current state-of-the-art.  This grant is a big boost to our young company and we are eager to get to work and bring this product to the market.”

Sandstone will be partnering with Dr. James Faix MD, a Pathologist at Stanford University Medical Center, which includes Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, to develop the technology.

“Extensive research over the last decade has shown that there are several protein and cellular signatures present in newborn blood samples that provide earlier and more accurate diagnosis of sepsis,” commented Dr. Faix.  “The fact that Sandstone’s platform can detect both these signatures from a few drops of whole blood in the NICU will be a major contribution to this field and will ultimately save lives.”

Sandstone’s founders developed the company’s core point-of-care clinical diagnostics technology at Sandia National Laboratories for national defense applications before licensing the technology and launching the company in 2012.

United States Congressman Eric Swalwell (CA-15) reached out to announce the award: “I congratulate Sandstone Diagnostics on being selected for this NIH grant to further its innovative technology to improve the process we use to diagnose infants with blood infections, which will save the lives of babies. Sandstone is a perfect example of a successful technology transfer from a government-funded national lab to the private sector for commercialization.”

Sandstone’s grant is a Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD, Award number R43HD076536).  The content in this press release is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Sandstone Diagnostics is a Bay Area biotech company developing instruments and consumables for point-of-care medical testing.  For more information please visit