UVX embarks on $2.8M project in Nova Scotia

The Vancouver-based startup will trial its air purification tech in a trio of cities in the province.

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UVX, a Vancouver-based hardware startup developing air purification devices, will be taking its talents to Canada’s other coast. Research Nova Scotia has invested a total of $2.8 million into a clinical trial that uses UVX’s tech in senior homes across three cities in the Atlantic province. NS Health is the administrator of the clinical trials, while UVX acts as the technology provider.

“We’re fortunate to have Research Nova Scotia allocate the capital and a provincial health authority lead the trial, which speaks to the promise of UVX and our technology for senior homes and healthcare at large,” the company’s co-founder Kunal Sethi told Vancouver Tech Journal. “This is the world’s only registered double-blinded randomized control trial with disinfection lights used in the presence of people, and we’re proud that it’s in collaboration with UVX. Outcomes from this study will support regulatory approval and public acceptance of UVX’s technology.”

That tech taps into 222nm far-UVC light. Unlike conventional UV light, which is harmful, far-UVC light has been shown to be safe for humans while retaining its germ-fighting capabilities. As such, it can be used for disinfection in the presence of people. In the trial, a device made by UVX replaces the previous American model installed in senior homes. It can shine over a space of about 500 square feet and can be controlled and monitored through an online dashboard, CBC reports.

The CBC feature was a full-circle moment for the company. Sethi, along with his co-founder Saimir Sulaj, came across an article by the public broadcaster that highlighted a shocking statistic: Canadian senior homes accounted for 81 percent of all COVID-19 deaths (double the average in developed countries). The pair were inspired to launch the company. Along the way, a hackathon helped them nail it down. Sethi and Sulaj left their jobs in Jan 2021 to run UVX full-time.

Fast forward to today, and the company has completed R&D, validated its technology lab settings, and now moved onto clinical trials including that in Nova Scotia. UVX’s potential has been endorsed by other sources, too. The company participated in Hatch, a venture builder collaboration between e@UBC and the Institute for Computing Information and Cognitive Systems. UVX is also backed by healthcare investors like HaloHealth, an angel group of medical doctors, and has received seed funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada. Speaking of cash, the company also won $165,000 at the 2022 Health Impact Investor Challenge.

As their momentum continues to roll, Sethi and Sulaj must be breathing easier these days. Soon, Nova Scotian seniors will be too.

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