The Irish Times - Friday, August 26, 2011
BIOSENSIA: With healthcare systems worldwide under pressure to tighten their belts, the launch of a fast and cost-effective new diagnostic kit from Irish life sciences company Biosensia is timely.
Biosensia has developed a point-of-care diagnostic system called RapiPlex that can be used by GPs or in hospital settings to take and test patient samples (for example blood or urine) and give a result in minutes. Normally this can take several days if taken by a GP and a number of hours if taken in hospital.
Other innovative aspects of the system that differentiate it from its competitors are that it can analyse up to 12 different aspects of the sample at once and it works with a range of samples from whole blood and serum to plasma and saliva. Most existing tests are specific to one type of sample. The kit comes in two parts – a disposable cartridge for capturing the sample and a bench-top reader that interprets the result of the test.
Biosensia was set up in 2008 to develop a roadside drug-testing kit for use by law- enforcement agencies. Since then the company has changed direction and set its sights on developing a product that would allow it to break into the much broader and potentially more lucrative world of human clinical testing. The value of this market worldwide is estimated to be in excess of $30 billion, according to a 2007 report by Clinica.
While the software driving the multi-patented system is highly complex, the system itself is very easy to use and does not require those operating it to have specialist skills. Biosensia is based at Nova in University College Dublin’s Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre and is now in the final stages of preparing its product for market.
The company employs five people and this is set to rise to 15 as the product nears its commercial launch. It will be launched in the US and Europe simultaneously and it is currently going through the approval process demanded by the US Federal Drugs Authority.