DCN Diagnostics’co-founder and president Dr Brendan O’Farrell knows that DCN’s expertise in advanced assay systems can meet any need that requires a sensitive and robust test without utilizing a laboratory. His company has developed tests for a multitude of market segments ranging from biomedical, veterinary, and agricultural diagnostics to bio-processing, industrial, food safety, consumer, bio-defense and radiological defense applications. “Our proficiency lies in designing and developing qualitative, quantitative, visual, reader-based, single-, and multi-plex assays for a plethora of analytes, matrices, and market segments,” he says. “Each product is unique, but they’re all designed with the end-user in mind to minimize errors and provide data quickly. More than that, though, we know that as a service company first and foremost, communication and a focus on customer experience are the keys to our success”.
“The types of products we develop run the gamut of complexity. On the one hand, we have developed very high sensitivity assays for infectious diseases, such as for malaria eradication, that require ultra-high sensitivity but have to be interpreted by eye—with no electronic readers—and used by minimally trained operators in low resource settings,” explains O’Farrell. On the other end of the spectrum, the company has developed highly complex systems such as a test for bio-dosimetry that takes a single drop of fingerstick blood, generates plasma without any equipment and measures the up- and down-regulation of four proteins quantitatively, yielding a digital readout that indicates the level of radiation exposure in an individual. “All of this in a device that is still simple and intuitive to use. The key to being able to develop at both ends of this spectrum is a deep understanding of the requirements of the user as well as the technical requirements for the test. This focus on the end user of the product allows us to develop for the consumer space as easily as for the professional medical market.”
DCN operates as a fee-for-service organization; clients own any intellectual property developed for them at the end of development. “We don’t lock anybody out of their own product, build in any proprietary IP without our clients’ knowledge, or tie them to longer-term services in order to access our development capability,” says O’Farrell. “It’s not necessary for our clients to utilize our reagents or to use us for manufacturing.The client has complete freedom to decide if the product will be manufactured at DCN, by a contract manufacturer or at their own facility. Allowing the client to make key decisions about their own product seems logical to us, but unfortunately that’s not always the case in our industry.”
A unique differentiator for the company is the formalized education and training process that it provides to organizations across the IVD landscape. “We’ve trained over 150 organizations on not only the technical aspects of developing and manufacturing lateral flow assays but also on regulation, reimbursement, clinical trials management, and manufacturing,” says O’Farrell.
Our proficiency lies in designing and developing qualitative, quantitative, visual, readerbased, single-plex, and multiplex assays for a plethora of analytes, matrices, and market segments. Our success relies on providing clients with uniquely high-quality customer service
For the last five years, DCN has hosted the Advanced Lateral Flow Course, where hundreds of product developers, suppliers, manufacturers, intellectual property experts, and VCs engage in knowledge-sharing and networking. As a part of the event, DCN has introduced the Technology Innovation Award, a $10,000 competitive cash prize, to assist the IVD market in keeping pace with the growing needs.
Moving ahead, DCN Diagnostics aims to focus on continual evolution in the lateral flow technology. “We’re helping to bring this technology to new point of care market spaces such as molecular diagnostics,” says O’Farrell. DCN will also continue to expand its contract manufacturing capabilities and, as always, focus on improving the customer experience throughout its service and product offering.