Queen's Innovation Centre

Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre
Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre

Spectra Plasmonics Among the 9 Finalists in Canada-Wide Competition to Address the Opioid Crisis

April 23, 2019

Sean Monteiro and Francisco Virga, Founders of Bounce Inc

Spectra’s ultra-sensitive SERS substrate can detect trace amounts of dangerous substances like fentanyl.

Spectra Plasmonics (QICSI 2017) was one of nine finalists selected by Health Canada to continue developing a drug-checking technology that will help address the ongoing opioid crisis in Canada. Spectra’s ultra-sensitive SERS substrate can detect trace amounts of dangerous substances like fentanyl.

Health Canada is granting them $25,000 to continue developing their prototype.

The underlying technology is based on research developed in the Department of Chemical Engineering Professors Carlos Escobedo and Aris Docoslis and two PhD students, Hannah Dies and Josh Raveendran. Spectra Plasmonic pitched to DDQIC Summer Pitch Competition judges in 2017, taking home the grand prize of $30,000. They went on to win the $125,000 grand prize at the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan competition in Singapore.

Early on, founders Malcolm Eade, Tyler Whitney, and Christian Baldwin identified the opioid crisis as a pressing problem that could be addressed by their technology. In Canada, the finished product could be used to detect the composition of illegal drugs brought into supervised consumption sites in order to reduce harm and collect important data about the crisis.

Read the Health Canada press release.