Deep Biologics receives funding for further development of their point-of-care COVID-19 saliva test DB SenseTM


The inexorable emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants, responsible for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, highlights the critical need for point-of-care (POC) screening tests that can be used to avoid the spread of the infection and inform the design of adequate isolation protocols. To meet these needs for the current pandemic, the worldwide population needs to adopt POC testing for diagnosis, primarily aimed at reducing the assay duration from hours to a few minutes. Instead of testing in centralized laboratories, which is the current status-quo, these POC platforms will bring testing on-site at clinician’s offices, pharmacies, workplaces, airports, schools, homes, etc.

The fact that the protection timeframe of developed vaccines is unclear, together with the possible emergence of variants that escape vaccine efficacy, necessitates the expansion of testing capacity and surveillance to mitigate the spread of the virus. Over the long term, this can only be achieved through POC testing. Lead COVID-19 tests attempt to support the rising capacity of testing but have mixed accuracy. The integration of novel technologies and software solutions with COVID-19 testing is expected to open new avenues for early detection. To this end, WHO has urged nations to control the spread of COVID-19 by testing symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals, which should boost adoption of kits and reagents for POC testing for mass testing capacity at workplaces, schools, airports etc. We are seeing uptake of these rapid detection technologies globally as multiple players try to fill the ever-increasing need for testing.

We have partnered with Affinité Instruments to develop the first portable surface plasmon resonance POC platform for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in complex samples such as saliva, nasal or throat samples. Our technology has effective accuracy for POC testing, is user-friendly, and is easily interpreted by a layperson. This complex technology has been miniaturised in a POC platform with clear potential to address the clinical need for the in situ diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2.

The objective of Phase 1 of this project was to develop a proof-of-concept of a rapid diagnostic platform for COVID-19 that can be deployed remotely outside the traditional centralized test facilities. Deep Biologics was successful with its proposed solution – the use of the surface plasmon resonance (SPR) combined with their well-suited, cost-effective antibody to detect SARS-CoV-2 in saliva samples. In Phase 1, pre-clinical validations of saliva samples, the repeatability and stability of viral detection using Affinité’s patented technology resulted in successful feasibility studies that provided the groundwork for further development of this technology for regulatory approval and commercialization. CEO of Deep Biologics Dr. Dea Shahinas states: “The surprising ease of use of Affinité's portable SPR platform to quickly validate Deep Biologics technology and ideas for SARS-CoV-2 screening meant that we were able to perform more assay optimizations and control measurement within the limited time and budget, as well as maximize the sensitivity and specificity of DB SenseTM, our combined kit for detection of SARS-CoV-2 in saliva. The strength of this partnership lies in the teams of our two companies, which bring together motivation and expertise to tackle a challenge like development of a POC diagnostics in an unprecedented amount of time”. Dr. Ludovic Live, CEO of Affinité Instruments, states, “The power of Affinité’s portable SPR technology was clearly highlighted in this joint development with Deep Biologics. The ease of developing DB SenseTM in record time and cost-effectiveness of using this platform was proven with effective outcome quickly and reliably.” Both Affinité Instruments and Deep Biologics will continue this partnership to co-develop not only a rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19, but also other patient-centered POC solutions to simplify access to clinical testing and early-diagnosis in the general population.

At Deep Biologics, we continue to demonstrate our commitment and leadership in bringing cutting-edge technology with superior accuracy for the early detection of pathogens of public health concern like SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the current pandemic. Our love for science is intertwined with our passion to make a difference by revealing timely solutions for the current pandemic. "We are pleased to receive this support from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) as part of a joint challenge issued with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) through the government’s Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) program," says Dr. Dea Shahinas. "This up to $2M in funding will be used to bring this product closer to commercialization and support our goal to fight this disease by improving access to testing for both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals."

About Deep Biologics

Deep Biologics streamlines and accelerates the design and development of innovative diagnostic and therapeutic products by leveraging the power of computational biology and artificial intelligence followed by thorough experimental validation. We deliver competitive integrated biologics with proven efficacy and cutting-edge technology to the market. Our team brings over a decade experience in discovery, optimization, formulation, delivery and scale-up of therapeutic and diagnostic products that are ready for clinical trials.

About Affinité Instruments

Founded by Professor Masson and Professor Pelletier from the Université de Montréal, Affinité Instruments is a MedTech startup offering innovative biosensing solutions in life sciences based on surface plasmon resonance (SPR). We have successfully developed a portable SPR platform based on the complex and costly SPR instrumentation used in the pharmaceutical industry. Our first product P4SPRTM offers portability and modularity to bridge a gap between the need to simplify the assay development workflow and accessibility to powerful SPR technology. Affinité instruments' vision is to expand the applications of this reliable SPR technology into the area of point-of-care diagnostics and real-time monitoring in personalized medicines.