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Sumitomo Chemical invests in scent-detection sensor for COVID-19

| By Mary Bailey

Sumitomo Chemical Co. (Tokyo, Japan) has decided to provide about 70% of the funds necessary for NanoScent, a startup company in Israel, to develop a rapid diagnostic sensor for COVID-19, using their scent recognition devices.

NanoScent is developing various new sensors that combine a scent-detection sensor with a chemiresistor and digital technology. In order to deter the spread of the novel coronavirus, NanoScent has embarked on the development of a rapid diagnostic sensor that can detect viral infections from nasally exhaled breath. To build infection screening systems at borders, airports, and hospitals, NanoScent is already conducting proof-of-concept studies in cooperation with hospitals in Israel and Europe and with companies developing high-precision testing technologies. NanoScent aims to create an infection screening system that is quick, low cost, and highly precise by combining an extremely simple diagnostic method based on its scent recognition device, which is noninvasive (no in vivo damage) and produces instant results, with higher-precision testing methods such as PCR.

Sumitomo Chemical believes that the development of rapid diagnostic sensor technology can be applied not only to COVID-19 but also to pandemic measures in areas where future pandemics are anticipated. Sumitomo Chemical made this important decision as its financial support will also contribute to the improvement of basic technology for the next-generation healthcare platform through “visualization of physical condition”. This platform has been jointly developed with NanoScent since 2019.

Sumitomo Chemical will continue to promote a variety of initiatives to fight against pandemics through open innovation with startups and academia, and will accelerate technological development in the healthcare field, one of its priority areas in next-generation businesses under its Corporate Business Plan for FY2019 to FY2021.