SoundCell, a spin-off of TU Delft, has secured funding of €350,000 from proof-of-concept fund UNIIQ, together with Delft Enterprises. The funds will go towards facilitating the development of its graphene technology for single cell resolution antibiotic sensitivity testing.
SoundCell develops innovative technology that can measure the vibrations produced by living bacteria. This technology makes use of graphene membranes and could have significant implications for the detection and prevention of antibiotic resistance, as it would enable patients to receive effective medication against bacterial infections faster than today’s standard.
To accurately measure the vibrations of a single bacterium, SoundCell uses graphene membranes. Due to the extremely sensitive properties of graphene and the biological processes in bacteria, SoundCell provides insight into whether a bacterium is still alive (vibrating) after administering an antibiotic.
SoundCell’s first experiments with E. Coli bacteria showed that if the bacteria were resistant to the antibiotic, the vibrations continued at the same level. When the bacteria were non-resistant, the vibrations subsided after administering the drug.
The measured vibrations are extremely small, at least ten thousand times smaller than the thickness of a hair.
Current methods for measuring the antibiotic resistance of bacteria rely on their cell division time. Because bacteria divide slowly, determination can take from several days, even up to weeks, depending on the type of the microorganism. With SoundCell’s technology, however, doctors will be able to administer effective antibiotics to patients within mere hours.
The Delft start-up plans to use this new investment from UNIIQ to develop a prototype that can be used and tested in a hospital and to conduct additional clinical research.
Of the new €350,000 investment, Managing Director Irek Rosłoń comments that the funding will help SoundCell’s technology move from an academic laboratory to a more commercial environment.
“With the UNIIQ investment, we will be able to take this important step and hit the ground running,” says Rosłoń.
“We are extremely proud of achieving this milestone and look forward to using our technology to make a significant positive impact on society.”