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MicrobeDx Europe Founded in Jena

US company is impressed by high-tech infrastructure and perfect conditions for founders in Thuringia

Just in time for the start of the year, Jena can present the first international company founding in 2017: In January, MicrobeDx Europe GmbH was launched.

MicrobeDx Inc., the US parent company, is developing fast and reliable tests that are used to diagnose urinary tract infections (UTI). This biological method enables the rapid characterization of bacteria and their activity and at the same time detects their resistance to common antibiotics. This exact and rapid test is intended to prevent hasty and false antibiotic treatments for urinary tract infections.

In order to transfer this testing process into a complete lab-on-a-chip system – a laboratory in a credit card format – and to enable the point-of-care use by doctors and patients, the Californian company teamed up with microfluidic ChipShop from Jena: "Microfluidic ChipShop is able to develop the biochips and the appropriate operating devices and they also integrate our biological detection process on the chip. As a result, they are the ideal partner to transfer our concepts for diagnostic testing into a market-ready product in Europe," explains MicrobeDx CEO Mazi Zarrehparvar.

Biochip diagnostics in CD format

A special feature of the new system is the preparation of the samples on a rotating chip carrier: "Together with MicrobeDx, we developed the idea to bring this test on a CD format in 2016. This concept uses the centrifugal forces during rotation to transport the liquids," explains Dr. Holger Becker, head of research at microfluidic ChipShop. The samples prepared in this way can be specifically examined for genetic information on the bacterial strains. With this procedure the pathogen is identified in 30 to 45 minutes and a suitable antibiotic can be recommended in less than three hours. For comparison, current standard diagnostic procedures for urinary tract infections require up to 72 hours.

The US company was particularly enthusiastic about the perfect conditions for the company's founding in Jena. Not only did Mazi Zarrehparvar find the right development and production partner in microfluidic ChipShop but also a great research network with the InfectoGnostics Research Campus Jena, which already offers all connections to relevant clinic areas and other technology partners. For Dr. Claudia Gärtner, CEO of microfluidic ChipShop, it was therefore important to establish the contact with the research campus. Especially for validating the new diagnostic test a fast and uncomplicated collaboration with partners in medicine, science and industry will be important.

At the end of 2017 MicrobeDx Europe will test the first market-ready systems with the Jena partners. Claudia Gärtner: "Instead of music, a CD then provides a diagnostic basis for correct decisions in personalized antibiotic therapy.”