Xenex reels in $38M for UV-emitting ‘germ zapper’

Xenex's LightStrike robot uses pulsed xenon to create UV light that "zaps" bacteria, viruses and spores responsible for hospital-acquired infections. (Xenex)

Xenex Disinfection Services, which markets UV light-emitting, "germ-zapping" robots, picked up $38 million in a Series I round. It will use the funds to boost its sales force and its international presence, as well as to ramp up R&D.

The LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robots are designed to help hospitals cut down their rates of hospital-acquired infection (HAI) by killing bacteria that can be missed during manual cleaning, the company said in a statement Friday. According to the CDC, there were 722,000 HAIs in U.S. acute care hospitals in 2011.

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The LightStrike device works by pulsed xenon to create high-intensity UV light to quickly destroy bacteria, viruses and spores, the company said. It has been shown in studies to cut down on HAI rates, including those of MRSA and C. difficile. It has also been tested against the Ebola virus and anthrax spores.

About 400 hospitals around the world are using the device, which may be used to clean patient rooms, operating rooms, equipment rooms, emergency rooms, intensive care units and public areas, the company said.

“Hospitals can and should do more to keep patients safe. No one wants a loved one to go to the hospital and contract C. diff, MRSA or CRE. Hospitals using Xenex LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robots have repeatedly demonstrated that using our technology lowers infection rates and enhances patient safety,” said Xenex CEO Morris Miller, in the statement. “Hospitals using our technology can stop the spread of infections while improving their bottom line.”

Essex Woodlands led the financing, with participation from existing backers Malin Corporation and Tectonic Ventures and new investor Piper Jaffray Merchant Banking. Xenex previously raised $25 million in 2015.