The technology for Lexagene Holdings Inc.’s automated pathogen detection instrument has been successfully derisked through a series of tests that looked at each of the instrument’s critical functions. These tests were conducted by Boston Engineering, a professional engineering firm that is working with Lexagene to develop the technology.

“We have carefully evaluated each of the instrument’s microfluidic functions and are now confident that Lexagene’s instrument will be able to process multiple samples at the same time and analyze each sample for many different types of pathogens,” said Dave Jacobs, director of medical device development at Boston Engineering.

“Proving that the technology has been derisked is a big accomplishment for Lexagene as we can now focus on building and testing the instrument,” added Dr. Jack Regan, Lexagene’s chief executive officer. “We have already finalized the instrument’s casing and have an early version of the instrument’s graphical user interface. We look forward to getting early feedback on the instrument’s usability.”

Lexagene will unveil this prealpha prototype on July 9, 2017, at this year’s International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) annual meeting in Tampa, Fla. To see what the prealpha prototype looks like, visit the company’s website.

The company is unveilling the prealpha prototype at IAFP since the company believes that the technology is particularly well suited to benefit this industry as the technology offers several features that have been long sought after by many in the food safety industry. Lexagene’s technology is anticipated to be the first that is capable of processing large volumes of samples and can screen for indicator species and pathogenic organisms at the same time. Furthermore, the technology does not require a licensed technician to operate; anyone from a farmhand to a PhD will be able to test a sample and get quick, accurate results.

The food industry in the United States loses $55.5-billion each year due to safety issues — that is, medical treatments, productivity losses and illness-related mortalities. Additionally, the average cost of a recall to a food company is $10-million in direct costs, not including brand damage and lost sales. Over all, each year, there are 2.6 billion tests conducted and 626 food recalls.

“In a society where approximately 48 million people get sick from contaminated food each year in the U.S. — resulting in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths — the industry is in dire need of a pathogen detection instrument that is not only highly effective and sensitive, but also easy-to-use and adaptable,” concluded Dr. Regan. “Lexagene’s technology will require as little as one hour of wait time to get results, compared to standard food safety tests that take up to five days, allowing food producers to make quick decisions regarding the safety of their products.”

The company’s next milestone is to complete the building of the alpha prototype by October, 2017, and then finish the testing of the prototype by November, 2017, to verify that it meets specifications.

About Lexagene Holdings Inc.

Lexagene is a biotechnology company developing the very first fully automated pathogen detection platform that is open access. The open-access feature will empower end-users to target any pathogen of interest as they can load their own real-time polymerase chain reaction assays onto the instrument for customized pathogen detection. End-users simply need to collect a sample, load it onto the instrument with a sample preparation cartridge and press go. The instrument is expected to offer excellent sensitivity, specificity and breadth of pathogen detection. The instrument will be able to process six samples at a time, in an on-demand fashion, returning results in about one hour.

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