Who ya gonna call: New Saint Johner banks on infection control tech

·2 min read

SAINT JOHN • Dennie James moved to Saint John in the middle of the pandemic with an opportunity in mind.

A Carleton University master of engineering graduate, James was impressed with how New Brunswick was suppressing the spread of COVID-19, and he wanted to contribute to that by establishing a cleaning and disinfectant business who also provides artificial intelligence (AI) services.

"The only businesses that will survive through this period are the ones who adapt to this new normal," said James, who moved to Saint John in September 2020.

With support from Economic Development Saint John and researchers from University of New Brunswick and Dalhousie Medicine, James launched his company Baioteq in January 2021.

Originally, James was just going to provide his AI platform service to the health-care industry, but he saw there was also a need for smaller commercial spaces to have these types of services too. So he re-engineered some of Baioteq's hospital-grade infection control technology for commercial spaces.

"With small businesses, the problem they face is they don't have the time and effort and the expertise to actually properly disinfect, while hospitals have dedicated teams, so that's why we started offering the service ourselves to the businesses as well."

The company offers hospital-grade UV-C towers, UV-C air purifiers and plant-based disinfectant electrostatic fogging. All have been approved by Health Canada, he said. UV-C technology uses ultraviolet light to kill 99.99 per cent of pathogens.

In addition, Baioteq offers AI software, targeted to hospitals, for a number of functions. James said the software can identify any outbreaks around the world and help hospital users monitor any hospital-acquired infections within their own facilities. The software can also help users detect any infectious diseases by uploading X-rays, according to James. He said the software has a 90 per cent accuracy rate.

"This was originally meant as a complete package for hospitals, so that they can monitor the infection, they can diagnose it, and they can also prevent it," said James.

He said BaioTeq offers a cleaning and disinfectant service that is natural, non-toxic and leaves no residue.

So far, clients have included ConnexionWorks and one restaurant, he said, with five or six other spaces they've booked for assessment.

James said the AI software developed by the company can be used for any other outbreaks or pandemics in the future.

"Hospitals will be fully prepared, they will have the tools to monitors outbreaks around the world, they will have the tools to control the infection in the hospital."

The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada.

Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal