InstantLabs Medical Diagnostics Corp
. is entering the animal health/veterinary medicine field next year, with plans to develop a variety of tests for the detection and diagnosis of dangerous pathogens in animals.
CEO Steven Guterman says the tests will be based on its general purpose molecular diagnostic test kits, which can be refined for different markets. Located at the University of Maryland BioPark, InstantLabs commercialized its first test kit this year for the food safety market and currently is developing a test kit for the human health/hospital market.
“Our goal is to change the way people do food testing," Guterman says. "We spent a lot of time building a device with the power of molecular testing that is small, affordable and easy to use.”
Food companies typically send samples to an outside laboratory for testing, a process that can take three to five days for results. InstantLab’s test, for both extraction and identification, can be done on-site, with test results within 12 to 24 hours.
Customers include poultry processors, fish farmers and nutritional companies that use the kits to detect different and dangerous bacteria like salmonella, listeria and e-coli.
The food safety kits were first sold commercially in spring of 2012. So far, more than a dozen have been sold, half in the US and half overseas. By early 2013, the company will also have a test for the bacteria Vibrio.
In human health/hospitals, InstantLab is developing a test kit for MSRA, an antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus infection. It received a $100,000 award from the Maryland Industrial Partnerships to develop a test kit for the detection of MSRA.
The company is working with Jennifer Johnson, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, on the test. It should be ready by the end of 2013, after which the company will begin human trials and seek US Food and Drug Administration approval.
InstantLabs was formed in 2008. In 2010, it moved to the University of Maryland BioPark in order to grow internally and have its own laboratory. In 2011, it moved to a larger space in the BioPark, doubling the size of its office.
The company has five employees in Maryland. Guterman says it is looking to hire a senior molecular biologist in 2013 for its entry into the veterinary field.
Source: Steven Guterman, InstantLabs Medical Diagnostics Corp.
Writer: Barbara Pash