LexaGene Holdings, a biotechnology company in Vancouver, B.C., that develops instrumentation for pathogen detection, has completed the assembly of its prototype for a fully automated, open-access and on-site pathogen-detection platform. The technology will be capable of screening for up to 22 pathogens at once and deliver results in one hour. It is designed to be used by people with no knowledge of automated instrumentation, microbiology or molecular biology.
“The completion of our alpha prototype marks a very important milestone for LexaGene, and this instrument is expected to provide fast and accurate pathogen detection that will be useful for many different industries – from food safety to veterinary and human clinical diagnostics,” said LexaGene CEO and Founder Jack Regan. The company is not turning its attention to maximizing the instrument’s performance to enable food safety officers can better prevent illnesses from occurring in the first place, he added.
With the food safety market is expected to reach $21.4 billion by 2024 veterinary diagnostics $6.7 billion by 2021, water quality testing $3.5 billion by 2019, and infectious disease testing in human clinical diagnostics $25.9 billion by 2022, the company sees the market potential for its technology as significant.
Over the next four months, LexaGene will conduct a series of experiments to optimize the alpha’s performance and then re-evaluate its design to determine whether additional improvements can be made for the beta prototype. In contrast to the alpha prototype, which is for in-house testing only, the beta prototype is intended to be as close to a commercial system as possible.
Accordingly, LexaGene said it will spend a considerable amount of effort on reducing the size and cost of the instrument, taking into consideration ease of manufacturing and service. The company anticipates sending betas to prospective customers for a free trial period during the summer of 2018 and making only small changes between the beta and commercial system, which is slated for manufacturing and sale by the end of 2018.