Sample6, a Boston-based company focused on applying biotechnology to advance food safety, announced today that it has secured a $11 million Series B financing round led by Canaan Partners. Joining the round are Cultivian Sandbox, a fund that invests in emerging technologies in the food and agriculture industry, and Series A lead investor Flybridge Capital Partners. In addition, the company noted that Stephen Bloch, MD, general partner of Canaan Partners, has joined its Board of Directors while Peter Farina, PhD, executive in residence for Canaan Partners, will join its Scientific Advisory Board.
The funds will be used to commercialize Sample6's first products, Sample6 DETECT/L and Sample6 CONTROL, which are designed to enable in-plant, in-shift pathogen detection in food processing environments. Sample6 DETECT/L is the company's first diagnostic assay and is designed to identify Listeria contamination. Sample6 CONTROL is the company's software platform, which is used by food companies to plan, execute, remediate and analyze food safety programs.
Current technologies to identify and remediate bacterial contamination can take several days to yield results, putting the safety of the food supply at risk. Sample6 provides the world's first synthetic-biology based bacteria diagnostic system that allows for enrichment-free detection and subsequent remediation of pathogens in less than eight hours, or a single work shift. The tests are able to detect levels of bacteria as low as one colony forming unit in one milliliter of liquid in only a few hours. The company's proprietary Bioillumination Platform™ allows for detection through engineered bioparticles, or biosensors, that target and illuminate contaminating bacteria.
"We are poised to bring to market our diagnostic and data analytics solutions that have the power to radically change, at first, the food industry's safety processes — taking a detection and remediation process that takes days down to one that takes hours," noted Tim Curran, CEO of Sample6. "Backing from Canaan and Cultivian will allow us to bring our revolutionary products to the U.S. food market and also explore other markets where bacterial contamination is an issue such as hospitals and clinics."
"Sample6 has the potential to dramatically improve food safety by simplifying and accelerating how we test for Listeria, Salmonella and E. coli. Sample6's team is determined to change the way the industry tests for and detects harmful bacteria in our food supply," said Bloch.
Both the Sample6 DETECT and the Sample6 CONTROL are expected to be available nationwide in the first half of 2014. The products' efficacy has been demonstrated through beta testing by a number of food processors in the meat, dairy, produce, and dry goods markets who have integrated the products into their plants. For more information, visit www.sample6.com.