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LexaGene's MiQLab to be a Game Changer for Veterinary Care

Photo by Matt Nelson on Unsplash

According to a recent report, the size of the global companion animal healthcare market was worth $15.3 billion in 2020 and is estimated to reach $20.7 billion in 2025, with a CAGR of 6.26% over the forecast period.

The market drivers included the rising number of pets and an increase in the willingness of pet owners to pay for services that previously were reserved only for humans. The market has the potential to grow faster with the development of quality diagnostics for in-hospital use.

Need for In-Clinic POC Tests

Today, clinicians in veterinary medicine that are interested in determining the cause of an infection are reliant on sending samples to a reference laboratory for testing, which takes days to get results back.

When a bacterial infection is suspected, veterinarians will often order culture and susceptibility (C&S) tests on collected samples to determine the causative pathogen(s) and whether any antimicrobial resistance is present. C&S is generally performed in a distant reference laboratory, and the standard turnaround time is three to five days.

In most cases, the need to make medical decisions comes before receiving C&S results, leaving veterinarians with the only choice of empiric diagnosis and treatment. This can lead to health complications and higher cost of care if the initial treatment is not found to be efficacious.

Veterinarians are in desperate need of in-clinic molecular testing that screens for pathogens and antimicrobial resistance factors. This helps them have the insight to prescribe the correct antibiotics soon after the initial appointment, rather than finding out days later that the prescribed therapy might not be efficacious.

This is where LexaGene’s MiQLab provides a solution.

MiQLab’s Quick and Effective Diagnosis


Photo by LexaGene

Massachusetts-based LexaGene has built MiQLab, a new genetic analyzer designed to do real-time veterinary diagnostic testing at the point-of-care — to be conveniently used in veterinary hospitals and clinics.

MiQLab stands for Multiplex Integrated Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) lab. The technology is a form of “syndromic testing,” in which a single test is used to screen for a large number of pathogens or genetic targets.

Conventionally, to do PCR in a lab, you would need to manually purify the genetic material, assemble the test and amplify and analyze the data. MiQLab does all these critical steps in one single instrument. A user needs to simply load the collected sample into the sample preparation cartridge, enter the patient sample ID, and the instrument does the rest.

LexaGene’s MiQLab, equipped with a bacterial and AMR test, screens for the seven most common bacterial pathogens as well as 13 different antimicrobial factors. LexaGene’s MiQLab is designed to be used inside veterinary clinics and returns results in approximately two hours.

This is an incredibly fast turnaround in comparison to C&S testing that takes three to five days, allowing for evidence-based treatment soon after seeing the patient rather than relying on empiric treatment decisions.

MiQLab’s Success in Veterinary Care

Effectively managing the care of a dog with symptoms consistent with a disease like urinary tract infection can be very challenging, as the same symptoms can be caused by incontinence, Cushing's disease, bladder cancer, kidney stones, diabetes and other clinical conditions.

The speed of in-clinic molecular testing can diagnose or rule out an infection, and this leads to overall better care for the animal.

At a recent seminar with a select group of veterinarians, Dr. Jack Regan, LexaGene’s CEO and founder, presented data generated from LexaGene’s MiQLab, which was used to screen urine samples from dogs to determine whether any pathogens might be present. It also determined whether any antimicrobial factors were detected that would need to be taken into account when prescribing correct therapy.

For this study, 51 frozen canine urine samples (25 positive and 26 negative samples) that were previously tested by culture were processed on MiQLab. Six different species of pathogens were detected from the processed samples, including 14 E. coli, 7 Staphylococcus, 5 Enterococcus, 3 Streptococcus and 1 Enterobacter.

Of these samples, 3 contained antimicrobial resistance factors. The MiQLab test results had a positive percent agreement of 100%, a negative percent agreement of 98.5% and an overall percent agreement of 98.6%, with culture.

The results of the study concluded that LexaGene’s MiQLab returns a molecular analysis on specimens in a fraction of the time it takes for culture to return results. Thus, veterinarians using MiQLab can offer pet owners evidence-based treatment decisions for their pets on the same day of the clinical appointment.

Furthermore, it also has the potential benefit of reducing the overall cost of pet care as the need for further diagnostics may be reduced through early definite diagnosis.

Wide Use of MiQLab

LexaGene’s technology has great promise in veterinary diagnostics, but the company is pursuing additional markets — human clinical, food safety testing, and open-access applications — which may boost its valuation in the coming months and years.

The company is currently pursuing an FDA Emergency-Use Authorization so that the MiQLab can be used for COVID-19 testing, which would present a first step in providing syndromic testing capabilities to the human clinical diagnostics market.

“LexaGene is poised to become the leader in veterinary infectious disease testing,” said Dr. Regan. “We anticipate 2021 will be an exceptional year for the company as we expand our sales staff and close additional sales to bring this exciting technology to this market.”

To learn more about LexaGene, you can visit its website here.

LexaGene Holdings, Inc. (TSX.V: LXG) (OTCQB: LXXGF) is a partner of Benzinga. The information in this article does not represent the investment advice of Benzinga or its writers.

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