Co-Diagnostics: Making Way for Affordable Diagnostics
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Dwight H. Egan, CEO
It was in 2013 when Dr. Brent Satterfield, a bioengineer and mathematician, pioneered the application of engineering mathematics to molecular diagnostics. With expertise in a specific type of complex mathematics called Cooperative Theory, Dr. Satterfield founded Co- Diagnostics to devise a proprietary molecular diagnostics technology that leveraged enhanced detection of genetic material for disease detection and life sciences research. Little did he know that in the coming years his technology would pave the way for innovation in the detection of infectious diseases, liquid biopsy for cancer screening, and agricultural applications, all areas where pricing is paramount.
Fast forward to today, with Dwight H. Egan at the helm as the CEO, Co-Diagnostics continues to create ripples in the industry with CoPrimers—the company’s leading-edge, patented platform technology designed for enhancing the output of molecular diagnostic tests conducted via real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. “Scientists have long been challenged with primer-dimers (PD)—a potential by-product formed during PCR—when running diagnostic assays. The primary source of false positives and negatives in molecular diagnostic testing, PDs amplify the errors that can dramatically minimize the accuracy of the test and lead to inaccurate diagnoses,” informs Egan, before adding that CoPrimers’ specificity exceeds that of existing PCR technologies to better identify and distinguish between viruses, pathogens, cancer, or other attributes in agricultural or medical applications. Deemed as a ‘technical advance’ as it is 2.5 Mn times more effective in reducing amplification errors, CoPrimers’ specificity facilitates the real multiplexing that enables a single test to identify numerous conditions, attributes, or genetic sequences simultaneously. With superior SNP detection, the technology helps identify the presence of beneficial molecular markers belonging to disease-resistant crops and livestock, as well as testing for mutations that indicate the presence of harmful genes.
CoPrimer technology is the ultimate product for flexibility in multiplex PCR for delivering great reductions in costs and turnaround times in the lab, and driving laboratory efficiencies
Egan underscores, “CoPrimers are the ultimate product for flexibility in multiplex PCR for delivering great reductions in costs and turnaround times in the lab, and driving laboratory efficiencies. The fact that we’ve eliminated PDs now enables us to test a lot of different targets concurrently in the same reaction. It also enables us to have the flexibility for assay interchangeability.” While it normally takes a huge lab and hundreds of employees for molecular diagnostic testing design, the company performs the tasks on the same scale with a small team, less equipment, and at a much lower cost.
Co-Diagnostics focuses on infectious diseases while conducting PCR reactions. Having bagged the CE mark for the TB, Zika and Zika/dengue/chikungunya multiplex tests, the organization, powered by this technology, is enabling detection of these pathogens and others without the care seekers having to pay a heavy price for it. Co-Diagnostics has currently partnered with Synbiotics Pvt. Ltd. in India, a subsidiary of Ambalal Sarabhai Enterprises Ltd., in an ambitious bid to offer medical diagnostics to the community at affordable rates. In addition, the company is also working with LGC, a London based medical firm, to help farmers grow crops that are resistant to pests and diseases and consume less water.
Appreciation and value for CoPrimers have taken a more literal form in countries like India, wherein 400 million of the population is infected with tuberculosis. “Our products are available to patients at a much lesser cost, and we can test dozens of people at a time. Our tests are built on an open architecture and can be carried out on machines that already exist in prominent labs throughout the country, eliminating a new capital acquisition to run our tests,” adds Egan. At present, Co-Diagnostics is particularly focused on vector control, identifying the mosquitoes bearing flaviviruses such as Zika, dengue, West Nile fever, and similar infectious diseases. “We are aggressively planning to market vector control in the United States as well as other countries, offering diagnostics at reasonable rates,” concludes Egan.
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