Established in 2019 as a spin-off from the CNRS in Grenoble and run by co-founder and CEO Vincent Bouchiat, Grapheal develops digital solutions based on graphene, which is designated as a strategic material by the European Union. TestNPass won a ‘Best in Innovation’ award at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, which took place from January 3 to 7, 2022. According to Vincent Bouchiat, the award provides “an invaluable springboard into the American market”. Grapheal was the only French company to win such an award this year and was one of just 15 award-winners across all categories, from a total of over 1,800 products in the running.
“TestNPass will enable us to resume in-person working, to ‘get back to normal’. It is designed to quickly create independent sterile bubbles as part of a zero Covid policy,” explains Vincent Bouchiat, Co-founder and CEO of Grapheal.
Grapheal specializes in bioelectronics, an emerging discipline at the intersection between biology and electronics. The use of graphene keeps production costs to an absolute minimum.
TestNPass features a digital biosensor comprising a one-atom thick, biocompatible carbon layer for testing body fluids such as blood, sweat and nasal secretions. It is connected to a simple electronic circuit board similar to those found in credit cards and is powered by the user’s mobile phone battery.
“Grapheal’s solution is much more than just a Covid test, as it is based on a versatile platform,” explains Vincent Bouchiat. This platform converts biochemical signals into electrical signals. Other use cases are therefore possible, such as smart dressings. If the biosensor is coated with antibodies that react to Covid-19 antigens, it is able to detect the virus in around three minutes instead of the 15 minutes usually needed to screen for infection. Connected to the user’s mobile phone via a dedicated app, this digital strip can quickly generate a secure and reliable Covid passport. The user retains full ownership of their health data.
TestNPass is suitable for the American market. Grapheal hopes to launch it there by the end of the year. A €10 million funding round has been launched to build a pilot factory, following a €1.9 million funding round in December 2020.