Grapheal, a developer of graphene-based embedded biosensors for on-site diagnostics and remote patient monitoring, has announced that it has raised a total of EUR1.9 million (almost USD$3 million) in equity and non-dilutive sources, including seed financing from Novalis Biotech’s Acceleration Fund, several innovation grants, and Bpifrance convertible notes and loans.
The funds will be used to advance the commercialization of Grapheal’s flexible graphene-based biosensor technology. This sensing technology combines novel electronic nanomaterials, embedded wireless electronics, software data analysis, and medical cloud IoT technologies. The first two applications of the technology will be a new generation digital COVID-19 test (TestNPass) for rapid screening in high-traffic areas, such as airports, and a wound care digital assistant (WoundLAB) to improve the monitoring of hard-to-heal wounds. The funds will also be used to validate the two devices in the field and complete clinical studies, respectively.
“Grapheal merges digital bioelectronic sensing technologies with connectivity into embedded systems for on-site diagnostics and remote patient monitoring, so is a perfect fit to the Novalis portfolio” said Wim Van Criekinge, co-founder of Novalis Biotech, who has also been appointed to the Grapheal Board of Directors. “There is enormous potential for applications of their digital technology in the medical field, but the rapid COVID-19 saliva test could be the game-changing test the world needs to safely return to normal, particularly at airports, concert halls, and stadiums. Their technology is delivering a tamper-proof sanitary pass that is confidential and compliant with stringent data privacy regulations, such as European GDPR. This is definitely a critical asset for their differentiation with competing products.”
TestNPass is Grapheal’s diagnostic test based on saliva sampling that can be used to rapidly screen for the COVID-19 infection. Within 5 minutes, the digital test detects the presence of the virus without the requirement of dedicated reading equipment other than a smartphone or a standard NFC-connected device. When the SARS-CoV-2 virus binds to antibodies contained in TestNPass, a specific electrical signal is detected. This signal can be captured electronically on the device, which speeds up the diagnosis and allows the result's secure digital transfer.
WoundLAB is a flexible and transparent graphene-based biosensor patch that continuously records and stores wound biochemical parameters. A smartphone app is then used to communicate this data to a telemedicine cloud for data aggregation and further analysis. This allows caregivers to monitor wound healing in their patients remotely, with prompt alerts if any infections or medical complications arise.
“We are very thankful to everyone that participated in our funding, from the seed capital provided by Novalis Biotech, each grant approval, and the Grenoble and La French Tech teams at Bpifrance for their continuous support,” said Dr. Vincent Bouchiat, CEO of Grapheal. “The medical applications of graphene are only just beginning to be explored, and we are leading those endeavors. With this funding in place, we believe our first product could be on the market before the end of 2021.”