Enabling Open-Access Automated Pathogen Detection

By Martech Outlook | Monday, April 15, 2019

LexaGene is a biotechnology company that develops the first completely automatic, open-access pathogen detection platform. The open-access function allows end users to target any pathogens of interest, as their PCR tests can be loaded into a customized pathogen sensing instrument in real time. The end users simply need to collect a sample, load it with a preparation cartridge into the instrument and press ‘go.’ The device should be susceptible, capable, and comprehensive in pathogen detection. The device can process several samples at a time, on request, and return results within approximately 1 hour. In the market of veterinary diagnostics and food safety, the company expects to sell its technology.

The company has invented its patented microfluidic system from company founder and CEO Dr. Jack Regan, a leading scientist developing the Department of Home Security in the BioWatch program and second R&E instrument for the detection of respiratory pathogens from nasal swab samples for a predecessor tool designed for bio-war surveillance. In government funding, $20 million was used to develop these instruments.

In order to quickly detect multiple pathogens with sensitivity and specificity at once and to achieve returns within one hour, LexaGene is developing a genetic analyzer that can detect pathogen automatically at the site of sample collection. In veterinary and human clinical diagnostics, as well as food safety testing, water quality monitoring, and other markets which require critical answers in less time, the LX2 Genetic Analyzer is designed for syndromic analysis. An open-access feature of this technology enables researchers in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and academic research labs to customize testing, whether it is the detection of rare infectious diseases, cancer screening or the development of mRNAs. The open-access feature also makes the system a critical part of preventing the spread of new infectious disease strains to prevent a pandemic.

LexaGen announced that its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) has been established to support the company in the positioning and marketing strategies of its products. SAB includes key opinion leaders in the target markets of the company including food safety, veterinary diagnostics, and open access markets like biodefense. Shawn Stevens JD and Dr. Kimothy Smith DVM Ph.D. were the initial members of the SAB. In the coming months, a five-member advisory board will also be added. Furthermore, the high cost of testing other genetically engineered technologies has prohibited widespread implementation, while the low-cost tests planned by LexaGene are expected to lead throughout the food industry.

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