Delayed Test Results, Diminished Health Outcomes
Health care providers can make the best decisions for their patients if they can obtain important diagnostic information while the patient is in the clinic. If samples need to be sent to an external lab for analysis, opportunities begin to diminish: the patient may not show up for a return visit, if required, or answer the phone when contacted with test results. If an infectious disease calls for quarantining patients, delaying diagnosis by a few days or even a few hours can mean more people infected. Thus, rapid point-of-care testing is a highly promising avenue for increasing the effectiveness of health care.
An Unexpected Discovery and a New Path
Middleton-based Lucigen Corp. had 17 years of history doing business in Wisconsin. With 53 employees, the company had more than 400 products manufactured locally and sold in more than 50 countries around the world. Its principal focus was the development and supply of tools for conducting next-generation DNA sequencing.
In the course of this work, Lucigen scientists developed an enzyme with unique properties that allowed the company to create development programs for diagnostic tests for infectious diseases such as Ebola and Clostridium difficile
(or C. diff
). The company formed a second business unit, Lucigen Dx
, to develop the tests and the underlying assays. Lucigen Dx has secured funding from a number of federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, and through the Qualified New Business Venture Program, was able to secure funding from angel investors.