Jul 13, 2021

Safeguarding frontline & essential workers from COVID-19 & future pandemics.

Safeguarding frontline & essential workers from COVID-19 & future pandemics.

Expression of interest recently opened to invest in Soterius. The MedTech Actuator startup is scaling its COVID-19 biosensor to help protect workers and the wider community from devastating health, social and economic impacts of future pandemics.

The reliable, accurate and non-invasive Soterius biosensor delivers immediate results, informing whether an individual is required to test for infection and self-isolate or providing the all-clear to enter their work environment. The biosensor will initially be delivered to hospitals, with future applications in other frontline and essential worker settings including quarantine hotels, airports, and schools.

Emerging environmental viral sensors are bulky, energy intensive and specific to one virus. In contrast, the Soterius biosensor is so small that it fits on a personal fob card and is now scaling to detect other respiratory illnesses. Importantly, the biosensor is easy to use: individuals just swipe their card over a reader at checkpoints.

Prototype tests revealed that the biosensor detects SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in the picomolar range with impressive accuracy and reliability. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus responsible for COVID-19. This indicates that Soterius could be a top performing diagnostic for respiratory illnesses by immediately detecting the lowest presence of viral load.

Founded by Dr Alasdair Wood and Dr Chih Wei Teng, the Soterius biosensor is being developed in collaboration with the Burnet Institute, RMIT University, D+I and Vestech.

“In 2019, when the terms ‘social distancing’ and ‘stage 4 lockdown restrictions’ were unheard of, we observed inherent weaknesses in the world’s ability to protect itself against respiratory infection,” recalls Alasdair.

Alasdair and Chih Wei joined the MedTech Actuator – Asia Pacific’s MedTech catalyst – in 2019 to validate their ideas, connect with product designers and partners, and build the skills necessary for scaling their company.

“The MedTech Actuator is a complete package. You’re bound to learn and gain new perspectives, no matter how experienced you are,” says Chih Wei.

For Alasdair, the camaraderie and friendship amongst startups has also been a highlight.

“Peer learning is always great – we went through highs and lows together in a safe environment. I also love the people that populate the MedTech Actuator. The team is great and the people they bring in are amazing – including mentor Dr Elane Zelcer. Our new connections with peers, mentors and the wider ecosystem persist beyond the program,” says Alasdair.

“The MedTech Actuator provides the tools and connections to make ideas a reality, which is a very exciting proposition. But be ready to sprint!”

Reach out to Co-Founder and CEO Chih Wei Teng at chih(@)soterius.com.au to express interest in becoming a Soterius investor.

See the Soterius biosensor in this recent Channel 9 News story and read more about the technology and collaboration in this RMIT University media release.

Photo courtesy of RMIT University: Soterius sensors being prepared at RMIT University’s Micro Nano Research Facility for advanced manufacturing of cutting-edge electronics.