The medtech start-up will use the funds to support the development of a digital Covid-19 test and wound-monitoring biosensors.
As the pandemic continues, many start-ups in the health space have seen an influx of investment. According to Pitchbook’s European Venture Report for 2020, investment in biotech and pharma start-ups jumped by more than 40pc year-on-year.
Now, a French medtech company specialising in graphene-based wearable sensors has secured €1.9m in equity and non-dilutive sources.
Founded in 2019, Grapheal develops wearable and disposable sensors that enable continuous monitoring and diagnosis. The company is a spin-out from the Neel Institute at the French National Centre for Scientific Research.
The new funding includes seed financing from Novalis Biotech’s acceleration fund, several innovation grants, and Bpifrance convertible notes and loans.
The money raised will be used to advance the development of Grapheal’s biosensors. The technology combines electronic nanomaterials, embedded wireless electronics, software data analysis and medical cloud IoT technologies.
The first two applications of the technology will be a five-minute digital Covid-19 saliva test for rapid screening in high-traffic areas, and WoundLab, a flexible and transparent graphene-based biosensor patch that continuously records and stores wound biochemical parameters.
Dr Vincent Bouchiat, CEO of Grapheal, said: “The medical applications of graphene are only just beginning to be explored and we are leading those endeavours. With this funding in place, we believe our first product could be on the market before the end of 2021.”
Novalis Biotech, which provided financing, is an early-stage venture capital investor focusing on technologies that aim to revolutionise healthcare. Its co-founder, Wim Van Criekinge, said there is enormous potential for applications of Grapheal’s digital technology.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Van Criekinge will now join the Grapheal board of directors.