AgPlus has developed a portable diagnostic platform which can quickly identify a wide range of illnesses from a blood or saliva sample, allowing rapid point-of-care diagnosis. Faster point-of-care diagnostics will allow earlier interventions to treat illness, and reduce patient anxiety associated with waiting for test results.
They have been licensing their technology for R&D applications within human clinical diagnostics, and now expect to launch the first mass-produced diagnostic tool for clinics and hospitals in 2019.
Their technology uses an innovative diagnostic technique. Silver nanoparticles are coated with an antibody which makes them bind to compounds in the sample which are indicative of particular diseases. The number of silver nanoparticles, after being separated from those that didn’t bind, is proportional to the amount of compound in the sample – which can then be linked to a condition. Measuring the nanoparticles involves changing the voltage across two electrodes, which changes the silver nanoparticles into silver ions. Measuring the charge of these ions shows their quantity.
AgPlus had an issue with the mass production of their electrodes. They were produced with a printing process, but there were issues with consistency, leading to unacceptably high rates of failure. AgPlus, as a small business, did not have the advanced analytical technology needed to identify the source of the problem, or the quality control technology to identify poorly performing electrodes before the device was assembled.