Finnish biotech startup Solu raises €1M to combat global antibiotic resistance

resistant bacteria

Solu, founded in 2022, is a Finnish biotechnology company focusing on combating antibiotic resistance by building the world’s most extensive pathogen DNA library. Solu’s product makes understanding, detecting, and preventing the spread of antibiotic resistance easier and enables real-time monitoring to detect dangerous mutations effectively.

The company has recently received seed funding of €1 million ($1.1 million).

Antibiotic resistance is a growing global problem: the ability of pathogenic bacteria to resist antibiotics has increased in recent years, and their prevalence has accelerated. According to studies, antibiotic resistance directly caused over one million deaths worldwide in 2019, and nearly five million people died from bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotics.

“Antibiotic resistance is a significant threat to global health. Preventing antibiotic resistance requires better research and faster identification,” said Solu’s co-founder and CEO Sam Sihvonen.

Due to advanced DNA sequencing methods, data volumes have grown massively in antibiotic resistance research. However, analyzing vast amounts of data using existing methods is often slow and inaccurate. Solu said it enables more efficient bacterial data processing and real-time monitoring of changes in pathogens.

“We make the identification of antibiotic-resistant bacteria easy and fast. Typically, identification takes hours, but with our solution, it shortens to a few minutes. Real-time data can effectively detect superbugs and dangerous mutations, making it possible to stop their spread as quickly as possible,” Sihvonen said.

Major collaborations

As part of product development, Solu has started collaborating with international universities, including Stanford University and the University of Hamburg, which use Solu’s product in their research on antibiotic resistance.

“Beating antibiotic resistance requires world-class expertise and cross-industry collaboration. By working with universities, we also receive valuable feedback from international experts for product development. This helps us aim directly at global markets,” Sihvonen said.

“Solu allows us to identify antibiotic resistance patterns in our clinical isolates faster and easier than anything we’ve used before. The ability to quickly and accurately predict patterns of resistance is empowering our research,” said Paul L. Bollyky, associate professor at the Department of Medicine at Stanford University Medical Center.

In addition to the international university collaboration, Solu has enlisted medical and bacteriology pioneers as advisors, including Risto Renkonen, former dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Helsinki.

Solu aiming to become the first solution in collecting pathogen data

With the recent seed funding, Solu said it will continue its product development and commercialization. The funding round was led by Finnish early-stage investor Lifeline Ventures and joined by Wave Ventures.

In the future, Solu aims to build the first pathogen DNA library that collects all pathogen data in real-time and can also model their evolution and identify new health-threatening pathogens more effectively.

“We want to be at the forefront of enabling future medical development and epidemic prevention. To achieve this, we need the best technology and data experts to join our journey,” Sihvonen concluded.

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