Chilean government grants $350K to Kaitek Labs to develop red tide detector

By VCPOST Staff Reporter

Apr 11, 2014 02:48 PM EDT

Chilean biotech startup Kaitek Labs has pocketed $350,000 from the government of Chile. The funding will be used to develop a prototype of a biosensor that can detect red tide, according to Undercurrent News.

Kaitek innovation consultant Martin Ojeda said of the project: "Monitoring costs are extremely high, so the development of the sensor, a technology able to detect toxins very cheaply and without the need of high degree of specialization - in fact it would work as a pregnancy test - would reduce costs significantly."

Kaitek Labs is given three years to develop the technology to be used in the device. In addition, the startup is eyeing a separate fundraising for $80,000 for the development of the prototype itself. The Red Tide Detection Kit (RTDK) would have a genetically modified bacterium that would show the presence of red tide toxins in seawater through color change. This technology could save a lot of lives that could be lost from consumption of contaminated food, the report explained.

As of now, Kaitek is undergoing a technical and economic validation of the RTDK. In August this year, a lab testing for the prototype will be conducted, Undercurrent News reported.

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