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UW spin-off company receives $5 million investment for COVID-19 research

Rapid Novor is developing a new way to diagnose COVID-19 by searching for antibodies in blood samples of patients recovering from the virus
blood donor AdobeStock_65601435
A person sitting down with their arm stretched out. A tube is attached to the arm, where blood is being drawn. Stock photo.

A spin-off company from the University of Waterloo has received a $5 million investment for their research into treating COVID-19.

Rapid Novor is a health tech company that uses sequencing on blood samples from patients with terminal illnesses to find antibodies to use in the development of new treatments for different diseases. 

According to a release from the university, the company started researching how to treat COVID-19 by taking blood samples from patients recovering from the virus, and locating antibodies that can be used to detect the virus.

"The long-term goal is to profile all antibodies in human blood and ultimately provide a brand new way to diagnose the disease." said Bin Ma, co-founder of Rapid Novor and a computer science professor at the University of Waterloo, in the release.

Compared to other companies that also use protein sequencing within their research, Ma says Rapid Novor is faster and more accurate, which allows them to test more complex samples.

"We are the only team in the world that can sequence antibody proteins from blood directly." said Ma.

The release says this type of sequencing was used by Rapid Novor when they were developing a blood test to detect cancer grown in bone marrow. As a result, their non-invasive blood test can now detect cancer up to six months earlier than other previous diagnosing tools.

With an investment from US company Co-Win Venture, Rapid Novor will be able to hire more scientists and expand their operation. Rapid Novor's research into COVID-19 has also landed them a grant from The National Research Council of Canada through the Industrial Research Assistant Program.

Eric Wen, a Co-Win Venture partner, says they were interested in the team's goal to decode immunity and their track record for innovation, which led them to invest in Rapid Novor.

"Rapid Novor has built a team of world-class scientists and practitioners in proteomics and bioinformatics. Their unique technologies will have a profound impact in the life sciences industry. We are thrilled to be a part of this innovative team."





Ariel Deutschmann

About the Author: Ariel Deutschmann

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