Biobot Analytics, a Somerville, Mass.-based a wastewater epidemiology company, raised $4.2m in seed funding bringing its total amount of the round to $6.7m.
The round was led by The Engine, with participation from AmFam Institute Impact Fund and previous investors Y Combinator and DCVC.
The company intends to use the capital for growth of operations to address pandemic challenges, additional market expansion and product development.
Biobot is a technology company that deploys wastewater monitoring equipment and analytical tools to provide novel public health insights at the community level.
Co-founded at MIT by Mariana Matus, PhD, and Newsha Ghaeli, who combined their computational biology, wastewater epidemiology and urban planning backgrounds to develop the technology, the company uses anonymous data collected from sewage to trace health indicators that provide insights into drug use, the presence of viruses, environmental contaminants and nutrition.
The company conducted its first commercial implementation of the technology with an opioid analytics program in Cary, NC. The analysis gave local officials accurate information on the use of opioids, so they could better lead productive interventions, reducing overdoses by 40% and lowering their associated cost to the healthcare system.
Today, seven cities in Massachusetts are conducting initial studies with the Biobot opioid product. In March, in collaboration with researchers at MIT, Harvard and Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Biobot launched a campaign to solicit wastewater from facilities across the U.S. Its research protocol and findings from an initial review of samples from a large urban facility in MA were detailed in the academic paper which can be found on MedRxiv called “SARS-COV-2 titers in wastewater are higher than expected from clinically confirmed cases.” Findings indicate that COVID-19 prevalence is orders of magnitude higher than confirmed cases suggest.