SwissDeCode, a biotechnology company based in Renens, Switzerland, has been awarded a €2.5 million EU grant to support the development of an automated device that will help food companies detect and react faster to contamination and adulteration, without the need for a laboratory or specialised personnel.
SwissDeCode was founded in 2016 by Gianpaolo Rando, a PhD scientist, and Brij Sahi, a senior executive, after understanding how rapid DNA detection solutions could improve the integrity of the food supply chain.
With several rapid testing kits already in the market, SwissDeCode has been helping companies in different parts of the food supply chain to detect food contamination and adulteration earlier, to avoid food recalls and to ensure customers can trust their products.
In 2020, following the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has decided to apply its knowledge and experience in detecting viruses in food and plants, taking advantage of the great adaptability of its technology to produce a rapid, reliable test to detect Coronavirus or new emergent viruses.
Currently, SwissDeCode is transforming its range of rapid solutions in an automated platform which will change the way companies carry out their testing, making the process faster, self-administered and directly at the point of need.
A game-changer for the industry
The device, which will be operated directly by the company’s staff and does not require any laboratory equipment, analyses food samples and aims to provide ISO certified results in just 30 minutes. Currently, many food companies still rely on external labs to analyse their samples, a process which can take up to 7 days, causing delays, recalls and food waste.
“This grant is the result of the team’s commitment on different fronts, during the last several months. We are very happy and proud of what we have accomplished as a team, and we cannot wait to bring our next innovation to the market”says Brij Sahi, CEO and co-founder of SwissDeCode
A highly-competitive program
The EU’s EIC Accelerator supports top-class innovators and high-potential small and medium-sized enterprises to help them develop and bring onto the market new innovative products, services and business models that could drive economic growth.
This was the first cut-off of the new EIC Accelerator “Enhanced Pilot”, which received 3969 applications. From these, 181 projects were interviewed and only 72 were successful. SwissDeCode is among the top 2% of all European deep tech startups who have applied for this highly competitive program.