Néovacs announced a first strategic investment of its seed fund to support the emergence of solutions to prevent and combat Covid-19 and, in general, against pandemics. In this context, the company announces an investment of $ 5 million (€ 4.2 million) in Bio Detection K9, a Canadian company specialized in the canine detection of bacteria and viruses and in particular covid-19.
This company will be 35% owned by NEOVACS and 65% by Priority One Canine (P1K9), which has developed state-of-the-art expertise in the field of detector dogs. Historically, dogs have been domesticated due to their incredibly developed sense of smell. This highly sophisticated tool has been used to detect many targets of interest, including explosives, firearms, narcotics, and smuggled tobacco.
Bio-Detection K9 has been actively training dogs to detect agricultural pathogens since 2011 with the help of renowned USDA scientist and virologist Dr. William Schneider. Today, Bio Detection K9 can offer detection services for various human diseases and conditions such as cancer, epilepsy, and COVID-19 and its variants. The company has developed a proprietary method of training dogs to directly detect pathogens and has produced COVID Detection K9 that can non-invasively screen human subjects in seconds with a 99% accuracy rate.
Three types of validation studies were performed: blind studies using viral proteins or clinical samples from positive and negative people confirmed by PCR tests, and a double-blind study in humans. In all cases, the canines were compared with PCR as the standard diagnostic method. In both blinded studies, the detector dogs were nearly 99% accurate. Results from Dr. Schneider’s study indicate that detector dogs can provide more precision than PCR testing, especially for early-stage asymptomatic infections. On several occasions, people who came to the detection center tested negative for PCR, but the detection dogs alerted them. These people returned to the same testing center a week later and this time their results were positive on the new PCR test.
COVID detection dogs are recognized by the World Health Agency as a valuable tool and aid in the detection of COVID-19. A scientifically trained dog can test a person in about ten seconds, while most testing methods for COVID-19 take at least 15 minutes per person. On average, screening tests cost businesses and governments between $ 60 and $ 150 per person, while solutions developed by Bio Detection K9 cost less than $ 1.50 per person. Cost savings, accuracy, time savings, and biohazard waste disposal make this detection method the most cost-effective, accurate, and environmentally sustainable solution worldwide.
Bio Detection K9 already provides COVID-19 services to many leading sports and entertainment organizations, including NASCAR, the Chicago Marathon, Eric Church, and The Black Keys. The company is in negotiations with many other organizations, particularly in the field of transport (stations, airports, etc.). The company is also in important talks with major US insurance providers for a pilot research project using dogs to screen for many conditions in addition to COVID-19.
Wade Morrell, CEO of P1K9, says: “Seven years after we first appeared on the reality show Shark Tank, when we were just a startup, and millions of dollars in sales later, P1K9 is extremely proud to conclude this deal with the support of the biotechnology company Néovacs. We intend to strengthen our leadership in the global security market by deploying COVID-19 detector dogs around the world to allow people to safely resume much-needed social and sporting events. We are very proud to provide assistance during this global COVID-19 pandemic. “
Hugo Brugière, CEO of Néovacs, states: “We took the time to analyze the different investment opportunities available to us before making this first strategic transaction. I am very happy to launch this new seed activity in partnership with a brilliant team, P1K9, and on a social issue of pandemic detection. “
The agreement announced today follows the signing of a letter of intent (LOI) announced on September 6, 2021. This is Néovacs’ first external growth operation as part of its strategic investment plan, which provides for a global endowment of 80 million euros divided between the development of clinical trials around the Kinoïde® technology platform and the acquisition of stakes in the high-potential companies BioTech and MedTech.
Source and visual: Néovacs