LexaGene on FOX

On August 26, 2017 and September 9, 2017, FOX Business Network aired an episode of Innovations with Ed Begley Jr. featuring LexaGene. Watch a video of the segment:


Below, is a transcript of the segment:

(Voice over #1)

Advancements in molecular testing are transforming many industries. From the food industry, where it promises to improve food safety, to the healthcare industry, where it promises to allow for more individualized treatments.

(Stephane Budel, Ph.D., Partner at DeciBio Consulting)

Just like us, many viruses and bacteria store their genetic codes in DNA. So, DNA is like a fingerprint. And, molecular testing enables you to detect DNA, or these fingerprints, in order to identify if you have a pathogen in a sample.

(Haley F Oliver, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Food Science, Purdue University)

There are some really big hurdles when it comes to food-borne pathogen detection. The first is time to detection. The faster we can find the problem, the faster we can prevent food-borne disease. The second is testing sample volume. So, the more volume you can actually test, the higher the likelihood that you’ll find a hazard like a food-borne pathogen such as salmonella.

(Voice over #2)

Accurate pathogen detection generally requires a skilled molecular biologist using specialized equipment.

(Stephane Budel – continued)

People who want to conduct pathogen detection at the site of sample collection have a couple of options. They can run a manual instrument, but those can be hard to operate, require a skilled technician, and take a long time. The alternative, is to use an automated instrument. But, they also suffer from limitations: The first one is that they tend to be single-plex, meaning they look at one, or maybe only a handful of pathogens, as opposed to dozens. And the second one is that they are closed access. What that means is that they are running tests that have been preconfigured to look at specific pathogens, so they lack flexibility.

(Voice over #3)

The ideal instrument is easy to use and provides open-access capability, which means the end user has the flexibility to develop customized genetic tests.

(Daryl Rebeck, President, LexaGene)

LexaGene is a public biotech company and we are developing an instrument that detects up to 22 pathogens at a time, such as salmonella and e-coli. It’s designed to be operated by anyone on site, without any formal training.

Our instrument allows you to test for whatever you want. It’s very simple. Essentially, you would collect the sample, input it into the machine, hit a button, and within an hour get the results you’re looking for. There is no need to send it to a lab, which saves you time and money.

(Voice over #4)

LexaGene’s instrument is an advancement over a technology that was first developed to detect a bio-terrorist attack on U.S soil.

If you remember after 911, anthrax attacks were becoming very common and becoming a large issue. The technology was first used in high traffic areas such as Boston Central and Grand Central Station, and even the Olympics. It would process huge amounts of air every few minutes looking for Anthrax. Should they have found that in a sample, they would have shut down whatever area that would be, there was no further testing necessary, that’s how much confidence they had in the system.

The projected was funded and validated by the Department of Homeland Security and built at Lawrence Livermore National Labs. The technology at Livermore Labs is so strong, that companies that come out of there tend to be hugely successful. We feel we will be the next success story out of Livermore.

(Voice over #5)

LexaGene’s flagship instrument offers many advantages. For one, end-users will now be able to customize their genetic screens without relying on a molecular biologist and waiting several days for results. The commercial use of this technology covers a wide range of industries.

(Daryl Rebeck – continued)

Our technology is applicable to so many industries, but we are first targeting vet diagnostics and food safety. These are multi-billion dollar industries that are in desperate need of innovation.

Imagine, say, a lettuce farmer in Salinas. Their current method right now [for pathogen detection] is to collect the sample and send it to the lab. They have to wait two to three days for the results. In that time, that lettuce is shipped to a warehouse, where it’s temperature controlled and humidity controlled. It costs time and it costs money. With our system, that farmer would be able to collect the sample, input it into the instrument, hit a button, and within an hour get the results, and send it off the end user, such as say a school or a restaurant.

(Voice over #6)

To operate LexaGene’s technology, the end-user simply loads a sample and cartridge onto the instrument, and initiates processing.

(Dr. Jack Regan, Ph.D., CEO and Founder, LexaGene)

The instrument then draws the liquid sample into the cartridge where bacteria are captured. Their genomes of these bacteria are purified using chemicals that break down the cell walls to expose the genetic material hidden inside.

This genetic material is then assembled into a series of 22 reactions to look for 22 different pathogens. These reactions are then repetitively heated and cooled, while we optically monitor their reactions, for one hour. If a reaction lights up, we know the identity of the detected pathogen based on the color of emitted light.

(Voice over #7)

The open-access technology can be customized by the end-user to detect any pathogen of interest.

(Dr. Jack Regan – continued)

This is a microfluidic instrument. The instrument effectively sips test fluids from these vials to perform genetic analysis. So, this is where the end user has, what we call, open-access. What that means is the ability to fully customize their genetic screens.

So, if the end user is interested in detecting e-coli, they simply need to load a test fluid specific to e-coli in one these vials, and the instrument is able to process thousands of samples looking for e-coli. It’s really that easy.

(Lauren Blaeser DVM DACVS, Veterinary Surgeon, Bulger Veterinary Hospital)

In veterinary medicine it is very common to see a patient with an infection. So, a dog comes in with a painful swollen ear, and it’s my job not only to find out what’s causing the infection, but what medicine is going to make him feel better. So, currently, I have to take my sample, swab the ear, send it out to the lab, and have to wait three, five, sometimes seven days to get the results back, and during that time, that dog is getting worse, he’s getting more painful, and the owners are getting more upset about it. To have a system like LexaGene’s where I could take the swab, put it in the machine and within an hour let these owners know what’s causing the infection and what medication they should go home on.

(Dr. Jack Regan – continued)

I have to tell you, we are all very excited about LexaGene’s ground breaking technology, because there’s nothing out there like it. It really meets two critical needs: One, it is open access, and two, it’s very easy to use. Ultimately, our vision is to place this technology into hospitals worldwide where it will empower physicians to save lives.