Motivation and strategy

A forgotten crisis

From a methanol outbreak in Kenya in 2014.
Orphan Diagnostics is a company focusing on point-of-care diagnostics in clinical toxicology.

Our first product is a unique, rapid and robust diagnostics test for methanol poisoning

Our aim is to raise awareness, knowledge and offer simplified diagnostic solutions where this is lacking through hands-on experience. We want our global connections and partnerships to ensure a broad impact for people in need.

Poisoning due to mixing methanol with regular alcohol causes thousands of deaths, brain damage and blindness worldwide every year. It affects people in all ages – children, adults and elderly – with the majority being young adults in employable ages.

The main bulk of poisonings are thought to pass unnoticed, thus no good data exists, but fatalities are high – and seem to be rising.

Effective treatment exists for methanol poisoning, but diagnosis for poisoning by methanol is difficult. Analyzes are rarely available in a timely manner, especially in low- and middle income regions.

Orphan Diagnostics strives to develop simple diagnostic tools to ensure a quick, fast and easy access to the correct diagnosis without the use of laboratory equipment, enabling early initiation of effective treatment.

Countries with reported methanol poisoning outbreaks in recent years.
From a methanol outbreak in Kenya in 2014



Knut Erik

Knut Erik Hovda MD, PhD
CEO and member of the board

Co-inventor and clinical consultant with >15 years of clinical on-the-ground experience and research experience with (including PhD in) methanol poisoning. Central in the Methanol Poisoning initiative ( and associated networks.

Gaut Gadeholt MD, PhD

Decades of experience in laboratory pharmacology, toxicology and biochemistry.

Board of Directors

Fridtjof Heyerdahl MD, PhD

Consultant physician in the Air Ambulance at Oslo University Hospital and at the National Poisons Centre. He has experience from medical device industry as a founder and CEO. His research background includes clinical toxicology, intensive care and emergency medicine.


Sigbjørn Olsen PhD

15 years experience from global IVD companies in Switzerland & Germany in developing and bringing products to world-wide market.

Vidar Moe Siv.Øk.

Head of Sales & Investment Manager at Gabler Investment Consulting. 18 years experience within finance, venture capital and asset management.

Tor Borgersen Cand. Polit.

Senior Communication Officer at the Office of the Prime Minister (since 2007). Wide experience in the area of communications, politics, media and public affairs, including crisis management, strategic media planning, press outreach, various media events, written- and multimedia communication.

Key People

Åsmund Kjendseth Røhr PhD

Co-inventor and senior researcher/project leader at Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). Specialist in proteins- and enzyme structure and function, chosen as one of NMBU´s promising talents 2016.