MouSensor, Inc., a biotechnology company that develops a novel and potentially transformative platform to digitize the sense of smell, announced today that it has raised $3.3M (€4M) in its seed round. The seed round was co-led by imec.xpand and Alexandria Venture Investments with participation from New York Ventures and Elma Hawkins, Ph.D.
“It is our mission to unlock a brand-new field called Odoromics and to establish the first-ever digital database of scent,” said Dr. D’Hulst. “Capturing the odor space will disrupt a myriad of industries, from consumer goods to healthcare, and create entirely new markets going forward.”
“MouSensor has engineered the tools to solve a 30-year old problem in the field of olfaction, the decoding of the most enigmatic of all senses —the sense of smell, “said Prof. Paul Feinstein, Chief Science Officer of MouSensor, Inc. “By harnessing what evolution gave us, we can translate the biology of the nose on to a chip to ultimately identify a signature for every type of smell on the planet.”
The MouSensor technology has opportunities in the Fragrance & Flavor Industry by providing an objective means to measure odors, and take the trial-and-error out of the $1.5B pipeline of new aroma chemical design and development. In addition, the nose-on-chip technology provides an opportunity to codify odors associated with certain diseases. Here, the Company has been partnering with The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research triggered by recent reports of people with “super-smelling powers” who are able to detect a specific scent on Parkinson’s patients, even before cardinal movement symptoms appear.
MouSensor has previously been funded by a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Science Foundation. These non-dilutive funding sources, together with a worldwide and exclusive license to the MouSensor technology, secured from The City University of New York, provided the invaluable stamp of approval necessary to attract early-stage investment that resulted in the closing of this seed round.
To drive continued development of its technology, MouSensor has developed a collaboration with the internationally recognized nano-electronics innovator, imec (Leuven, Belgium) to integrate the MouSensor Biology with state-of-the-art silicon chip technology. This R&D partnership was recently awarded with a $1.2M grant from Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO). The Company has set up a subsidiary in Belgium to facilitate the imec collaboration and fuel its own chip R&D.
“Proud of our brand, we at imec are selective in the R&D relationships we establish,” said Luc Van den hove, CEO of imec. “We are fascinated by MouSensor’s approach which aligns with our vision to bring the power of chip technology to the domain of life sciences and to push the boundaries of the impossible.”
Imec.xpand, an independently managed fund that invests globally in companies that leverage imec technology, has truly instigated MouSensor’s fundraising efforts with early-stage funding followed by co-leading the seed round with Alexandria Venture Investments.
“At imec.xpand, we are looking to invest in companies with an exceptional team and a unique technology that will have a global impact,” said Tom Vanhoutte, Partner at imec.xpand. “We are impressed by the depth of knowledge, the commitment and the enthusiasm of Charlotte, Paul and the team and we are looking forward to join them on their exciting journey.”
MouSensor is a member company of Alexandria LaunchLabs®, a full-service startup platform, through which the Company was able to access the Alexandria Seed Capital Platform, an innovative funding model led by Alexandria Venture Investments.
“Alexandria LaunchLabs fosters the city’s next generation of best-in-class life science companies and we are thrilled to have MouSensor and its technology, developed right here in Manhattan, join our vibrant ecosystem at the Alexandria Center® for Life Science – NYC,” said Blake Stevens, Ph.D., head of Alexandria LaunchLabs – NYC.
MouSensor is supported by an outstanding Scientific Advisory Board composed of world leading experts in the molecular biology of the sense of smell, which include Dr. Charles Greer, Professor of Neuroscience and Neurosurgery at Yale University, Dr. Randall Reed, Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Johns Hopkins University, and Dr. Jeffrey Martens, Thomas H. Maren Professor and Chair at the University of Florida. Prof. Em. Eugene Johnson, former Chief Scientific Advisor at the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, will advise the Company on the application of the MouSensor technology in the Parkinson’s field. Steve Hicks, Former R&D Director at Procter & Gamble, has been appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors.