The value of putting actionable data into physicians’ hands in real time is undeniable. With diagnostic information guiding the majority of treatment decisions, there is a definite need for high-quality test data in the field of clinical medicine. In order to support these crucial interactions between physicians and patients, vantix®, a Boston-based company, has developed a platform in which test results can be accessed in real time. Vantix® DIAGNOSTICS allows patients to complete their lab tests and discuss the results with their physician all during the same appointment. This point-of-care system leads to increased patient adherence and increased physician workflow efficiencies, which in turn, raises effectiveness and improves outcomes. The technology, which is capable of running routinely ordered tests on one device, allows for both sample collection and health information management – ultimately transforming the way healthcare is delivered.
Vantix® recently closed on a $10 million private placement to support research and development of its biosensor technology. The company is still raising money in order to bring the system to market as well as seeking CE Mark and FDA approval.
Vantix® CEO, Steve Lufkin, joined the company in 2011 to help it develop this cutting-edge biosensor. Previously the Vice President, Corporate Officer of the Midwest Research Institute, Lufkin has concrete experience in directing technology and implementing strategic business development efforts. He also served as the general manager of IVAX Diagnostics, Inc., a public in-vitro diagnostics company, where he managed global commercial operations.
MedTech Boston caught up with Lufkin to learn more about this innovative technology.
Can you explain the details of the newly created platform?
The technology behind vantix® is a unique biosensor that measures potential, instead of a color change, to indicate the presence and quantity of a toxin, drug, contaminant, protein or nucleic acid in biological samples (ex. blood, urine or saliva) or in other complex samples (ex. milk, river water or homogenized grain). The electrochemistry biosensor measures a change in potential related to the presence and concentration of the target complex.
The vantix® system consists of three integrated components: an instrument (the vantix® Reader), a disposable test panel (the vantix® Cartridge) and a centralized web-based information management system (the V-Lab™ web application).
The biosensor P3 Technology™ utilized in the system’s diagnostic platform is fully-automated, requiring only a drop of blood applied directly to the credit card-sized vantix® cartridge. We believe that each cartridge will ultimately be able to undertake up to 14 tests on a single blood sample. The single-use cartridge, with the blood sample already on it, is inserted into the vantix® Reader which provides lab-quality test results in minutes. The reader can simultaneously test up to three cartridges.
In addition, the vantix® system is designed to transmit the diagnostic test results and quality control data to the system’s V-Lab™, which is a web based application where results are securely stored and integrated, as appropriate, through commercially available Health Information Management systems (HIMS). The vantix® system requires no specialized operator knowledge or training and is intended to be used by staff typically found in a physician office or clinic.
What are some of the benefits in layman’s terms?
Right now, when patients have their doctor appointments and require blood work, they are given a referral to visit the reference lab and the results are then sent back to the doctor. Most often patients are required to schedule another doctor appointment to receive the results and given treatments (prescriptions, behavior modifications, etc.). The vantix® system will eliminate these delays. The most routinely ordered blood tests for chronic diseases can be done in the first office visit. Patients will only be required to produce a finger stick prick in the physician’s office. Using the vantix® system, the results will be available within just a few minutes.
Not only does it take away the back and forth for the patient, but it also eliminates the need for the doctor to have to schedule another visit, write a letter or make a call at the end of an already long day. The blood test diagnosis can be discussed in real time with the patient. Any treatments are recommended immediately without delay. Studies show that the use of POC tests results in a reduction in morbidity and mortality and saves billions of healthcare dollars each year. All of us are users of healthcare and have been personally affected by the longstanding reference lab system.
How do you anticipate this development affecting the medical industry on a macro level?
The decentralization of products is driven by technology innovation. In 1951, the first commercial computer was available at a cost of $1 million and was 943 cubic feet in size. Today, you can purchase a tablet for $500, and it weighs about 2 pounds. This migration from centralized to decentralized computing was driven by the availability of technology, not the market need. The distributed testing market is undergoing a similar migration. Thirty years ago, glucose testing for diabetics was done in a reference lab; today over $1.7 billion of testing is done at home.
The technology development allowed for three changes:
Diagnostics have not made the shift because current commercial technologies do not meet the gold standard of performance: the reference laboratory. In diagnostics, performance quality is more important than the need for real time. However, the desire for real-time results is increasing, as the value is becoming more widely known.
The market for decentralized testing is on the cusp of change. Vantix® DIAGNOSTICS has a unique and protected biosensor technology that will accelerate this market transformation.
Nicole Yang is an editorial intern at MedTech Boston. She is currently a rising senior at Amherst College, where she studies Neuroscience. During the academic year, Nicole is the Managing Editor of The Amherst Student and has also worked as a Chemistry laboratory teaching assistant. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys playing squash and practicing yoga. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Yang12.
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