Technology transfer to industry: 2020 achievements
Avalun Covid-19 antigen test now on market
Startup Avalun, which calls the MINATEC High-Tech Building its home, released its Covid-19 antigen test a few days ago. This powerful growth driver will also help speed up the rollout of Avalun’s portable lab, LabPad® Evolution.
At the start of 2020, Avalun had plans to roll out its LabPad® INR in six regions across France to monitor 10,000 patients on blood thinners. But that was before Covid. The test rollout (a project called Di@pason) was postponed when participating medical biology labs were overwhelmed by the testing demands of the pandemic. Avalun rapidly switched gears, focusing its R&D on a Covid-19 antigen test and on the release of its new portable lab, the LabPad® Evolution. The company started working on the antigen test in August, and obtained CE marking in late November.
Results in 20 minutes or less
“Positive” patients with a high viral load can expect a result in just a few minutes, while a negative result can take up to 20 minutes. Compared to the conventional in-lab PCR test, Avalun’s antigen test is 92.5% effective. A nasal swab is required for the new test. Avalun’s LabPad® Evolution automatically reads the results and sends the information to secure public health data monitoring platforms.
Orders are flowing in and demand on this global market far surpasses what the company can manufacture. The LabPad® Evolution will make inroads into markets around the world—and not just in France—much faster than anticipated. Once the pandemic is behind us, Avalun will have a substantial installed base of products and will then be able to offer other kinds of tests. The company’s R&D department is already working on them!
Contact : firstname.lastname@example.org
Startups continue to raise capital during the pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic has not kept startups commercializing MINATEC technologies from raising funds. From June to September six MINATEC startups announced fundraising rounds for a total of €38 million in fresh capital.
MagIA Diagnostics (€3 million) is now positioned to scale up its portable HIV and hepatitis B and C screening device. Apix Analytics (€5 million) will ramp up business development efforts to expand sales of its multi-gas detectors. Elichens (€6 million) will begin volume manufacturing of its gas sensors. Aryballe Technologies (€7 million) will scale up its “smart nose” technology. Microoled (€8 million) is ramping up production of its miniature displays and developing a new augmented reality module. Antaios (€9 million) is entering into a partnership with Applied Materials.
In other startup news, Bespoon (ultra-wideband transmission) was acquired by STMicroelectronics.
eLichens monitors air quality in San Francisco
Grenoble startup eLichens finished rolling out 30 air quality monitoring stations in San Francisco in March. The stations’ sensors monitor fine particles, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and methane in real time. And, because they are installed 2 meters to 3 meters off the ground, the stations monitor the air that people are actually breathing.
The technology in eLichens’ solution leverages algorithms to determine the optimal position for each monitoring station, and then map and forecast area-by-area results. The solution is much more cost-effective than conventional air quality monitoring networks. The startup, which also has monitoring stations in Grenoble, Paris, and Milan, is pursuing its R&D partnership with Leti. Its new pollen sensor is expected to launch very soon.
Thyroid surgery: FLUOPTICS© reduces the risk of complications
FLUOPTICS©, located in the High-tech Building (BHT), is getting encouraging feedback on its FLUOBEAM®LX imaging system for thyroid surgery. The system allows surgeons to clearly identify the four tiny parathyroid glands adjacent to the thyroid at the start of the surgery. This reduces the risk of accidental injury to or removal of the parathyroid glands, a complication that can have very serious consequences.
FLUOBEAM®LX uses a specific excitation wavelength that causes the parathyroid glands to emit autofluorescence without the need for a contrast medium. The light signal emitted is detected by a high-sensitivity camera. FLUOPTICS© is the first company in the world to offer this kind of imaging system and has obtained EU and US approvals for the system. At end-2019 the company had installed seventeen of its machines at top-named surgical practices in Europe and the US.
Fundraising: Diabeloop gets a €31 million boost
Startup Diabeloop, which just moved into the BHT2 building, completed an impressive €31 million fundraising round at the end of November. The influx of funds will support three of the company’s flagship activities: R&D to improve the DBLG1 automatic type 1 diabetes management system; clinical trials on teens and patients with very unstable forms of diabetes; and sales in France and international markets.
Diabeloop will soon apply for US Food and Drug Administration approval for the DBLG1. The approval processes are also moving forward in France and Germany.
The startup, which was selected to receive support under the French Tech 120 program, currently employs 70 people, two-thirds in Grenoble. Diabeloop plans to make a number of new hires in 2020.