SmiLe company Viraspec, which is developing a diagnostic test for COVID-19, is Mohamad Takwa’s third company in SmiLe Incubator. Together with other founders – four senior international researchers – he has developed a rapid and sensitive technique for detecting coronavirus in saliva during active infection. Six months after being founded, the company has now been acquired by Aegirbio, a listed Lund company that focuses on COVID-19 as one of its priorities.
Viraspec was founded in March of this year and is based on the expertise of its founders in the areas of diagnostics and “lateral flow” technology for diagnostic testing. One example of such technology is the common pregnancy test, where with the help of a few drops of urine, a sample stick displays a line if the woman is pregnant.
The company has specifically refined lateral flow technology in a very short time – it now has higher sensitivity for detection than previously. In addition, they have developed a rapid diagnostic test that takes only 2-3 minutes that can demonstrate the presence of coronavirus which causes COVID-19 in saliva – resulting in a test that is both simpler than blood tests and more reliable since the presence of virus particles is greater in saliva than in the blood of infected individuals.
Aegirbio was particularly attracted to this improved technology.
“Now our method is close to a market launch, which will be facilitated by involving a larger company like Aegirbio. Viraspec would not have been able to develop this technique if we not received support from SmiLe in the form of verification funds – we have run the company completely on ‘soft money’ – and we are grateful for the guidance we received from SmiLe’s coaches and experts,” says Mohamad Takwa.
“We would like to congratulate the team for having developed Viraspec into an extremely valuable company in such a short time. And we are particularly pleased that serial entrepreneurs like Mohamad Takwa return time after time to SmiLe to receive our support and benefit from the extensive expertise in our community of entrepreneurs, sponsors and advisors. Mohamad is a role model and generously shares his experience with other startup companies in our community,” says Ebba Fåhraeus, CEO of SmiLe Incubator at Medicon Village in Lund.
SmiLe Incubator is a life science business incubator based in Medicon Village in Lund. SmiLe helps entrepreneurs to commercialize their ideas. There are currently more than 20 companies in SmiLe, which together with alumni companies, have attracted more than EUR 280 million in venture capital to date since 2014. SmiLe offers business coaching, a large network of contacts and a dynamic community, as well as well-equipped laboratories which is unique of its kind in Sweden. SmiLe is a non-profit organization and receives basic funding from Region Skåne, Lund Municipality, Lund University and Medicon Village. SmiLe´s sponsors are Agilent, Sparbanken Skåne, Awa, Høiberg, Prevas, Setterwalls, Zacco. SmiLe’s listed alumni companies have a market capitalization of almost EUR 750 million (Q4 2019). www.smileincubator.life