Noze recives $1 million grant from Bill & Melinda Gates foundation to build tb- and malaria-detecting breathalyzer

Olivia Collette
March 22, 2023

Montréal-based Noze has received a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to build a breathalyzer that detects infectious diseases, more specifically tuberculosis and malaria.

Noze’s portable breathalyzer is powered by the company’s AI-based digital odour perception platform, and detects unique biomarkers in exhaled breath to recognize infectious diseases. In addition, it can deliver instant diagnostics. Noze said it developed this breathalyzer to make health screenings and diagnostics less time-consuming, invasive, and costly.

“Breath-based diagnostics will be a game-changer for healthcare accessibility.”
– Karim Aly, Noze CEO

The device is currently being developed and is slated for completion by the end of 2023. After this, the breathalyzer will go into clinical validation, a process performed by a clinical trial sponsor that’s meant to demonstrate that a given medical product works as intended.

“Breath-based diagnostics will be a game-changer for healthcare accessibility, and our ability to launch a portable device and deliver it on a massive, worldwide scale can be a powerful new tool to fight the spread of malaria and tuberculosis, in addition to many other diseases,” said Noze CEO Karim Aly.

Using exclusively licensed patents from NASA, Noze’s platform was used during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company claims it was the first technology to track airborne markers released by people who were infected with coronavirus or influenza.

“Digital odour perception can help with various clinical conditions where there are distinct odour biomarkers emanating from the breath or body,” Aly said, adding, “there are (cardiovascular) conditions where these biomarkers are present.”

Because digital odour perception can be effective in detecting certain heart conditions, Noze partnered with the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) for an ongoing project called “Paradigm Shift in the Conduct of Clinical Trials” that launched in 2021. To develop the project, the MHI and its consortium, which includes Noze, received a $9.35 million grant from Quebec’s Ministry of Economy and Innovation and an additional $12.3 million from private partner investments. The project aims to combine innovative technologies to gather patient data and build a virtual model for clinical trials.

Formerly called Stratuscent, Noze was founded in 2015 by Ashok Prabhu, who is currently the company’s CTO. To date, Noze has received $24.4 million CAD in funding from investors that include TandemLaunch, Mistral Venture Partners, Fonds Innovexport, and Creative Destruction Labs.