InstantLabs Medical Diagnostics Corporation: PCR assay for the detection of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)

Images of a lab technician using the InstantLabs machine, a diagnostic device, in Baltimore, MD on July 9th, 2011.

Business Description:

InstantLabs is a molecular diagnostic device company and the developer of portable, quantitative, real-time PCR (qPCR) systems. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is a technology used for amplifying DNA sequences.

InstantLabs is focused on medical diagnostic and food safety applications for its proprietary technologies. InstantLabs currently markets its Hunter Accelerated-PCR® platform with disposable Multiple Assay Cartridges (MACs), bringing simplicity and power to complex diagnostic testing without dependency on central laboratories or acute care facilities for sample analysis. The compact, affordable and fully-integrated Hunter system is especially suited for use at points-of-care and points-of-need to detect and analyze a wide variety of common and problematic pathogens. InstantLabs is positioned to broaden the addressable market for RT-PCR in areas where gold-standard accuracy combined with ease-of-use and rapid time to results can make a consequential improvement in operational efficiency as well as health outcomes.

Challenge:

Decision-making for patients with a Staph infection used to be easy.  Simple, inexpensive antibiotics cured all but the worst cases.  However, in the early 1960s, a new rare pathogen appeared, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), which now represents more than 35 percent of hospital Staph isolates. MRSA is resistant to common antibiotics, and often results in serious illness and even death. It is an ever-increasing cause of community- and hospital-acquired infections worldwide.

The rapid diagnosis of MRSA is critical to both patient treatment and efficient hospital operations.

InstantLabs is seeking to develop a rapid method to detect Methicillin-resistant Staph Aureus (MRSA) on the Hunter® Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) platform. This will allow the accurate and quick diagnosis of an increasingly important multi-drug resistant pathogen.

Images of a lab technician using the InstantLabs machine, a diagnostic device, in Baltimore, MD on July 9th, 2011.

MIPS Role:

Dr. Jennifer Kristie Johnson will design and test the PCR assays to detect MRSA.

Interesting Fact:

InstantLabs’ instrument, the Hunter, is not confined to human diagnostics. It is also used in food safety, and the company is working on animal health test kits along with an industrial application.

MIPS-Related Quote:

“The quality of the researchers and the support from MIPS will allow us to enter the market sooner.”

— Steven Guterman, Chief Executive Officer, InstantLabs

Project Manager:  Neil Sharma, Steven Guterman;  Principal Investigator:  Dr. Jennifer Kristie Johnson, UMB
Location:  Baltimore, Maryland – Baltimore City;  Project Start Date: 8/1/2012

Images of a lab technician using the InstantLabs machine, a diagnostic device, in Baltimore, MD on July 9th, 2011.

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