The agreement enables miDiagnostics to kickstart the commercialization of a COVID-19 breathalyzer (as opposed to classical COVID-19 testing methods based on blood, saliva or a sample from the nose/throat cavity).
In the past year, Imec developed a breath sampler and performed clinical studies with the university hospital and university of Leuven showing that the breath sampler is capable of capturing the SARS-CoV-2 virus in exhaled air, and detecting the viral RNA quickly and reliably.
Also, Inec developed a sampling instrument integrating the breath sampling technology and imec’s ultra-fast PCR-test, and optimized the robustness and ease of use, to achieve a functioning proof-of-concept to date.
“I note with great pride that we have run an impressive course in the past months,” says Imec CEO Luc Van den hove, “We have succeeded in transforming a promising concept and groundbreaking technology into a functional proof-of-concept that has passed both user tests and clinical studies. This is the first time that we have gone this far in the development of our chip technology towards commercialization. With this proof-of-concept, we can demonstrate -much closer to the market- the added value of our technology, while significantly reducing the time-to-market for our partners. The license agreement with miDiagnostics is an important milestone for imec: our breakthrough technology will help curb the COVID-19 pandemic in the foreseeable future.”
As COVID-19 will certainly not be the last virus to engulf the world, imec is already looking further, by investigating how its patented technology can also be applied to diagnose other infectious airborne diseases. In addition, Imec is also looking into its application in diagnosing diseases such as cancer.
Interested companies are welcome to join this effort.