Bluephage increases capital by €702,000 to consolidate its technology for the analysis of the microbiological quality of water
Bluephage has closed a new capital increase of € 702,000. This is the second round of investment attraction carried out by the company, after the € 180,000 achieved in July 2017. These results attest to the interest aroused by this spin-off of the University of Barcelona, born in 2016, which has developed an innovative technology for analysing the microbiological quality of water: a kit that allows the detection and quantification of bacteriophages (viral indicators) in water in a simple manner and in less than five hours, as opposed to the more than twenty-four hours that are currently needed to carry out this type of analysis.
“This capital increase represents an increase in our investors’ trust in the project, since some of them have increased their participation, which means that we can go ahead with the development and business plan as scheduled,” explains Enric Queralt, Executive Director of Bluephage.
Seventeen investors have participated in the new capital increase, twelve of whom are newcomers, bringing the total number of investors in Bluephage to twenty-nine. The new partners who enter the company team up with the founders: the researchers from the University of Barcelona Joan Jofre, Francisco Lucena, and Anicet Blanch, Enric Queralt, the University of Barcelona (through CIC-UB) and the Bosch i Gimpera Foundation, which turned the Valorisation Fund grant from the Fund for the Promotion of Innovation (F2i) into shares. The family office Sánchez Lafuente, ex-owners of Laboratorios Gelos, manufacturers of Gelocatil, and Jordi Oliver-Rodés, General Manager of Laboratorio Dr. Oliver Rodés, are some of the company’s outstanding partners.
Second- and third-generation kits will be marketed in 2019
The increase in shareholding will allow the company to continue developing products, as well as having them certified and validated by health agencies. Bluephage has now marketed a large part of the first generation kits that analyse viral indicators in water using standard methods. In fact, the first kits have already been sold in the Spanish market.
The release of second- and third-generation products is scheduled for 2019. These new kits will first of all simplify the entire analysis process and reduce the time it takes to obtain the results, which will go from the current more than twenty-four hours to less than five hours. Finally, third-generation kits will further simplify the process and provide automated reading of results.
Currently, the spin-off is also working on the marketing of its products in the United States, where the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently updated the standard methods of analysis of viral indicators in water. With this objective in mind, in early October, Bluephage successfully presented its technological solutions at WEFTEC 2018, the world’s largest annual water quality fair, held in New Orleans, which Bluephage attended accompanied by representatives of Acció and the Catalan Water Cluster.
A new paradigm for water testing
The bacterial indicators currently used to analyse water quality do not detect a wide range of viruses that cause serious diseases. In addition, they usually involve quite lengthy cultivation methods, which require a great deal of preparation of materials, specialized personnel, and special equipment. Bluephage is specialized in the detection of bacteriophages, viral indicators that allow the monitoring of the microbiological quality of water, food, and biosolids. The product is based on a technology developed by the Research Group on Health-Related Water Microbiology (MARS) of the University of Barcelona. In addition to detecting viral contamination in water in a more efficient and simple way, this new method is applicable to the microbiological control of foodstuffs and products derived from other industrial sectors.