Updated on 21 December 2012
Singapore-based Veredus Laboratories developed the VereChip technology that allows point-of-need testing and is suited to a wide range of clinical diagnostics applications. The VereChip platform combines microelectro mechanical systems (MEMS) with micro-fluidics to automate and integrate multiplexed DNA amplification with microarray detection.
Similarly, Singapore's Clearbridge BioLoc developed AssayQuest, an innovative and affordable analysis platform that can facilitate quantitative point-of-care-testing (POCT) from a small amount of patient sample. The AssayQuest system comprises a reader and a disposable test card, which is the size of a credit card. A roller-pump mechanism processes the test card that constitutes of a microfluidic matrix of reagent-filled blisters that are ruptured in an automated and programmable sequence. The AssayQuest platform allows the test card to be customized with different reagent combinations and assay formats to provide professional and reproducible laboratory-quality results within minutes.
Taiwan-based Rossmax and Microlife and Korean company Allmedicus are also engaged in development and manufacturing of medical diagnostic equipment for home monitoring and institutional use. Blood pressure monitors, digital thermometers, asthma monitors and flexible heating are their core products. Australian company Tyrian Diagnostics developed point-of-care and point-of-need diagnostic tests for clinical and non-clinical applications. The company engages in developing its DiagnostIQ platform, a patented disposable test device, which utilizes an antibody or antigen printed membrane to create a multi-analyte test, suitable for use with crude samples such as whole blood, sputum, saliva or plant materials.
Roadblocks in growth path
Getting diagnostics to patients in the developing world is a challenge. There are many obstacles, including issues of remote locations, extreme temperatures, access to cold chain and lack of trained personnel. The key stumbling block, however, is mostly the cost of the product.
US-based QuantuMDx is tackling these problems by developing hand-held and portable low-cost devices for diagnosis, genomic sequencing and proteomic profiling for both developed and developing nations. These are designed to be simple and user-friendly.
The company is developing the Q-POC point-of-care device for multi-drug-resistant infectious disease testing, including tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, and also as a companion diagnostic. According to the company, it will deliver results that are as accurate as those from state-of-the-art laboratories, but in less than 20 minutes and at a fraction of the cost of tests done at labs. A similar device could both diagnose and stage in less than 20 minutes. This will mean patients getting diagnosed of a disease and starting treatment in one clinic visit, which is especially important in remote and rural areas.