Stellenbosch University, UTF invest R7 million in healthtech startup BioCODE

BioCODE healthtech startup Stellenbosch Unviversity Technology Fund

Stellenbosch University (SU) and the University Technology Fund (UTF) have invested R7 million in healthtech startup, BioCODE.

The investment will assist the startup to fund its development of a rapid inflammation test

The test assists in screening and monitoring inflammatory diseases.

“From small beginnings, this team has worked hard and is now nearly ready to bring their innovation to the market,” Anita Nel, chief director of the university’s Technology Transfer and Innovation Division, Innovus, said in a statement.

BioCODE hopes the test will be one of several disease risk screening tools it will develop.

“Innovus Technology Transfer and Stellenbosch University LaunchLab have been working very closely with the team and supported them in protecting their intellectual property, setting up the company, forming partnerships, and raising investment and funding.”

“No wonder that the UTF recognised their invention as a worthwhile investment.”

This is the second investment the UTF has made in BioCODE. The venture fund focuses on commercialising technology and research that originates from South African universities.

The fund contributed R5 million. SU contributed an additional R2 million as part of its partnership with the fund.

“The future of medicine will primarily rely on prevention rather than cures,” Wayne Stocks, partner at Stocks & Strauss, the appointed fund managers of the UTF said.

“BioCODE is at the forefront of preventative medicine making it an investment with global potential.”

BioCode developing rapid test for inflammatory molecules

The startup was the result of a collaboration between SU’s Physiological Sciences Department and the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

The startup’s researchers and founders include Professor Resia Pretorius, Professor Anna-Mart Engelbrecht, and Professor Willie Perold.

BioCODE is currently developing a rapid test to detect inflammatory molecules in blood.

“Serum Amyloid A (SAA) and other inflammatory molecules increase when a person has inflammation,” Pretorius explained.

“Cardiovascular disease, Type-2 diabetes, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, acute COVID and even pheno-type long COVID have increased inflammatory molecules like SAA in circulation.”

The rapid test returns results within minutes. The results are then integrated with the startup’s Internet of Things (IoT) platform to monitor patients and their results.

BioCODE hopes the test will be one of several disease risk screening tools it will develop.

“Ultimately, we want to lead the biotech movement in South Africa towards accessible preventative health care, and we want to empower people to take charge of their own health,” Pretorius said.

Read more: Local investment platform launches grant funding for SA edtech startups

Read more: University of Cape Town Online School selected as global Top Innovator

Featured image: Trust “Tru” Katsande via Unsplash

Sam Spiller, Staff Writer


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