LexaGene Holdings Inc. is developing a pathogen detection device that can cut analysis time from two or three days to about an hour. The device allows onsite analysis of samples without the need for a specialized technician.
Jack Regan, founder and CEO of the Beverly, Mass.-based company, told The Deal that the device uses disposable cartridges to hold the samples for the extraction of their genetic material.
"This purified genetic material is then combined using microfluidics with pathogen-specific test reagents, which are then heated and cooled to facilitate the amplification of targeted genomic material," Regan said.
"During the course of heating and cooling the reactions, the instrument optically monitors the reactions for increases in the amount of emitted light. Based on the color and level of emitted light, we can determine what pathogens were present in the original sample."
One area of application is food safety - large numbers of people continue to suffer from food poisoning every year, sometimes fatally. These incidents can stem from the source -- shrimp farming has brought on massive food poisoning outbreaks for instance -- from a restaurant, or the supply chain in between.
LexaGene also notes in its investor presentation the massive economic destruction Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG) - Get Report suffered in the last quarter of 2015 when outbreaks of Norovirus, E. coli and Salmonella sickened large numbers of customers and destroyed investors' confidence in the restaurant chain.
Managing pandemics is another area where the technology could play a vital role, given the need to analyze the origins of mass outbreaks as soon as possible.
Regan said the company expects to have two fully-functional prototypes in October, completing the technology's third phase of development.
"We then enter into Phase IV, where we will verify the instrument performs all the necessary fluidic functions and meets the specified performance specifications," Regan said.
"We expect to exit Phase IV at the end of November, at which point we anticipate having two fully functional alpha prototype instruments, and investors and shareholders are welcome to visit our facility and see and operate the instruments for themselves."
LexaGene is traded on the TSX in Canada and under the OTCQB ticker LXXGF.
"As we grow and begin to market overseas, we are starting to attract foreign investors outside of the U.S. and Canada." Regan said.
"We continue to look for the best way to allow these foreign investors to participate in helping LexaGene grow into an international company."
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