BEVERLY, Mass., Dec. 03, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- LexaGene Holdings Inc. (OTCQB: LXXGF; TSX-V: LXG) (the “Company”), a biotechnology company that develops instrumentation for pathogen detection, today announced that it recently had an Industry Engagement Meeting with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regarding the applications of the Company’s technology for DHS’ program on Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD).
DHS was founded in response to the September 11th attacks and the bioterrorist attacks on September 18th in 2001 when anonymous letters laced with deadly anthrax spores were delivered to media companies and congressional offices resulting in five deaths and 17 others being infected. Since these events, DHS has supported and implemented proven technologies into their BioWatch Program to better detect bioterrorist attacks.
Dr. Jack Regan, LexaGene’s CEO and Founder, previously worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory developing a DHS-funded Autonomous Pathogen Detection System (APDS). This system was designed to automatically screen the air for weaponized bacteria. After its completion, the APDS system was validated by DHS and became an active component of their BioWatch Program, where it operated 24/7 providing autonomous surveillance. Despite the successes of the system, Dr. Regan’s experience developing this technology motivated him to design a next-generation genetic analyzer that would be more powerful than the APDS system and have uses beyond those of biodefense. The results of these efforts are now being realized through LexaGene’s development of the LX2™ Genetic Analyzer.
Dr. Regan states, “We developed LexaGene’s technology to address the weaknesses of the APDS system, namely by increasing the instrument’s ability to process more than one sample at the same time, by incorporating a quality sample-preparation step for improved sensitivity, by expanding the multiplex capability for better sensitivity and specificity, and by reducing the turn-around time to obtain results in about one hour. Collectively, these benefits make the technology well suited to serve many markets. Although LexaGene is currently focused on commercial markets such a veterinary diagnostics and food safety, modifying our technology for bio-threat surveillance and general war fighter applications is easily done because the system is open-access. For this reason, we felt it was important to have a one-on-one meeting with DHS’ Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Program.”
Dr. Kimothy Smith, a former Senior Advisor for DHS’ International Biodefense Group and former Acting Director of the National Biosurveillance Integration Center, states, “The open-access feature of LexaGene’s LX2 Genetic Analyzer is very appealing as it makes the technology perfectly suited for many government applications. The government is extremely concerned about ‘Disease X’, which is viewed by the World Health Organization as an unknown pathogen that has the potential to spark a global pandemic. Because LexaGene’s system can be rapidly configured to screen samples for new bio-threat agents, whether they are bioengineered by a domestic or foreign adversary, or evolved from nature, the technology is of utmost importance to the government.”
Following this event, LexaGene also attended a Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, co-chaired by Joseph Lieberman (former Senator of Connecticut) and Tom Ridge (former Governor of Pennsylvania and first United States Secretary of Homeland Security). Through its research, the Panel (formed in 2014) identified systemic weaknesses in the national biodefense posture and recommended 33 steps the government can take to mitigate these weaknesses, detailed in its report, A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts. In this meeting, the panel queried the White House, Centers for Disease Control and other agencies on progress made toward the goals identified four years previously.
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About LexaGene Holdings Inc.
LexaGene is a biotechnology company developing the very first fully automated pathogen detection platform that is open-access. The open-access feature will empower end-users to target any pathogen of interest, as they can load their own real-time PCR assays onto the instrument for customized pathogen detection. End-users simply need to collect a sample, load it onto the instrument with a sample preparation cartridge, and press ‘go’. The instrument is expected to offer excellent sensitivity, specificity, and breadth of pathogen detection. The instrument will be able to process multiple samples at a time, in an on-demand fashion, returning results in about 1 hour. The company expects to sell its technology in the food safety market, veterinary diagnostics market and more.
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