San Antonio — Xenex Disinfection Services, the maker of a robot that rids hospital rooms of tiny bacteria and viruses that can potentially cause deadly infections, has raised $38 million of venture funding to hire new salespeople and spend more on research and development.
Xenex’s technology, called LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robots, uses an inert gas, pulsed xenon, to create high-intensity UV lights that the company says can disinfect a hospital room of infection-causing microorganisms, such as Clostridium difficile (C.diff), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). Nearly 300 people die each day in the U.S. from infections acquired during a hospital stay, Xenex says.
The new funding was led by Essex Woodlands, a healthcare-focused investment fund with offices in Palo Alto, CA, Houston, New York, and London. Since its founding in 2009, Xenex has raised $94 million, including this new round. Previous investors participated in the funding, as did one other new investor: Piper Jaffray Merchant Banking, the private equity arm of the Minneapolis -based investment bank. Xenex’s previous investors include Malin Corporation, Battery Ventures, Targeted Technology Fund II, RK Ventures, and Tectonic Ventures, a Newton, MA-based venture firm that Xenex CEO Morris Miller co-founded last year.
“Hospitals using Xenex LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robots have repeatedly demonstrated that using our technology lowers infection rates and enhances patient safety,” Miller said in a press statement. “Hospitals using our technology can stop the spread of infections while improving their bottom line.”
About 400 robots are being used in hospitals and government facilities in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Africa, and Japan. Xenex, which Miller said in 2015 cost around $100,000 each, plans to also use to funding for further international expansion. One robot can disinfect 30 to 62 hospital rooms each day, the company said in the statement.