Pharma & drug development Science & tech

LexaGene’s new automated testing platform

Massachusetts-based LexaGene is preparing to launch MiQLab, the company’s flagship product, which provides automated pathogen testing in one platform. The unit can screen samples for up to 27 different targets at once and has been designed in an open-access way, so that users can customise their own tests. Abi Millar spoke to the firm about the launch of this new tech and how it could change diagnostic procedures. 

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, diagnostics have rarely been out of the spotlight. A number of coronavirus tests have hit the market, many of them beleaguered by problems relating to sensitivity or specificity. Speed has also been an issue, with the typical polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test (considered the gold standard testing platform for viruses) taking 12-24 hours to return results.

For Massachusetts-based LexaGene – which has a new diagnostic technology pending US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval – there is a clear gap in the coronavirus testing market. MiQLab, its flagship product, fully automates the PCR testing process. It can also screen samples for up to 27 different targets at once, returning results within an hour. This means it can be used to test not just for Covid-19, but also for differential diagnoses such as flu.

“The instrument will be able to test for a wide range of respiratory viruses, so when somebody comes in with symptoms, there’s a higher probability of telling them exactly what caused the illness,” says Dr Jack Regan, LexaGene’s founder and CEO. “All of a sudden you have a tremendous amount of confidence telling the patient, listen, you have this other pathogen. It’s not coronavirus, you do not need to self-quarantine.”

Read the rest of this article in the December 2020 edition of Medical Technology

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