SPI Bio, a young biotechnology company based in Sherbrooke, announced Monday the closing of a new round of financing of $1.7 million.
The funds come from local and international investors such as Sherbrooke Innopole, Natural Products Canada, ACET National Bank and Capitall Investments.
SPI Bio has developed a device for the automatic detection of legionella bacteria in industrial, commercial and residential cooling systems.
This patented technology, called BioAlert, includes a biochemical analysis compartment and a data management system that allows daily testing and results to be obtained in less than three hours.
BioAlert simplifies the testing process by eliminating the need for manual sampling and shipping of samples to the laboratory, which can take up to two weeks to provide data.
This system does not replace the monthly tests required by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec, but it does make it possible to predict the results that will come back from the laboratories in order to avoid any consequences associated with a bad analysis.
SPI Bio therefore believes that this connected solution helps to better manage microbiological risk and reduce the costs and impact of a potential legionella outbreak.
With more than 25,000 hospitalizations and nearly 4,000 deaths each year in North America, these bacteria are a major public health issue.
The capital raised should enable SPI Bio to accelerate the commercialization of the device. The company hopes to increase its production capacity and develop its distribution network to eventually break into the US and European markets.
SPI Bio also intends to prioritise the industrial, hospital and tourism sectors in 2020.
To deploy its commercial strategy, the company plans to hire five new resources for its administration, production and sales departments.
The team currently consists of 17 employees, all based at the Espace LABz multi-tenant centre in the Sherbrooke Science Park. SPI Bio assembles BioAlert devices on site.
“With this financing, we will have the opportunity to move more quickly towards achieving our corporate objectives. These funds will enable us to move from a start-up to a well-established SME, for which we are more than grateful,” said Étienne Lemieux, co-founder and CEO of SPI Bio, in a press release.