Updated on 23 October 2012
Pictor has since raised another $1.6 million in capital from new investors, moved out of their garage to laboratory facilities in an industrial building overlooking Auckland harbor, and currently has a multi-disciplinary team of engineers, software developers and biologists.
They now have a complete solution for immunodiagnostic testing. The core of the technology are PictArrays, which are redesigned microscope slides made from plastic and consist of 16 wells at the bottom of which 25 tiny dots are printed in a 5x5 grid. This grid of dots allows eight tests with extra dots to ensure that the test has been performed correctly. Each slide can test between 12 to 15 patient samples simultaneously. The tests result in a color and the relative intensity of it provides a quantitative value for the test. The results are read on the PictImager, which is the lowest-cost immunoassay reader in the market, and then analyzed using Pictorial, their proprietary data analysis software, which provides results within two minutes of test completion.
PictArrays have several features that make them an ideal product for laboratories in emerging countries. The use of PictArrays requires no special training since the tests are easy-to-perform, while software-based data analysis removes any subjectivity in interpretation of results. The same product can be used by large reference laboratories testing hundreds of samples each day using standard ELISA processing equipment and by small manual operations, such as rural healthcare centers, or street-corner laboratories still dominant in urban India and South East Asia.
Pictor has successfully pilot tested two test panels: one for rheumatoid arthritis and the other for autoimmune connective tissue diseases, such as systemic lupus, at diagnostic laboratories in New Zealand, Malaysia and Thailand. The company is working with distributors to commercialize these products in Malaysia and Thailand.
It is also developing two panels for screening patients for exposure to ToRCH, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Plans are underway to pilot test them at laboratories in India. Additional panels are planned to screen for a range of tropical diseases, such as malaria, leptospirosis and dengue, as well as a number of highly prevalent chronic diseases.