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A French biotechnology SME is offering an easy and rapid test for evaluation of biocharge level and cleaning efficiency. The test is based on a colorimetric reaction which change the color of the test in presence of viable microorganisms within a few hours. This diagnostic test is used for assessing cleaning efficiency for surfaces (and can be used for liquids). The company is interested in commercial agreement with technical assistance or license agreement.
A French SME developed revolutionary, profitable and environmentally friendly bio-based solutions for the industry including cleantech, pharmaceutical, chemistry, food and feed or bio-energy. The innovative solutions are based on a set of enabling technologies to discover, engineer and manufacture high performance enzymes and microbial strains.
Control of cleanliness and hygiene is a recurring task in many industries. This tedious and time-consuming check sometimes requires heavy equipment to obtain results in short time. There are many ways to control the biocharge of surfaces and the most frequent technics used are the following:
- Cultures in liquid medium or on Petri dishes with very well-established methods, allowing the detection down to 1 microorganism per analyzed sample. However the number of viable microorganisms may be severely underrepresented. These methods necessitate specific equipment and highly skilled personnel. Moreover the choice of the culture conditions will induce some bias towards certain microbes. The required incubation time is also quite long.
- Blades: special blades device with specific medium are used by applying a side of the blade on the surface to be tested, then put the blade in an incubator for 24 hours to 48 hours. The result is obtained after a long time. Moreover, they are only compatible with plane surfaces and the sampled surface is determined by the surface of the slide.
- ATPmetry (Adenosine Triphosphate bioluminescence): needs a swab and detect the microorganism through a bioluminescence method. This technic needs an apparatus and methods to be set up. The respond is fast but could detect false positives. The test cost is rather high.
- PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) is based on DNA detection. Depending on the sequence of the primers used, it can detect most of the microorganisms. It is a very fast method but it necessitates highly skilled personnel and high cost equipment and consumables. Finally, PCR does not make the difference between live and dead microorganisms.
The company developed a rapid test based on a colorimetric enzymatic reaction to detect the presence of microorganisms on a work surface within a few hours. The test kit allows reading without equipment, in just a few hours and with very low detection thresholds. The detection of microorganisms depends on color apparition. The test can be performed without any specific apparatus and without need of high training people.
The test is in the form of two tubes. The first tube, called the wetting tube, contains a solution which is used to moisten a sterile swab. This swab must then be rubbed on the surface to be tested. The second tube contains a reagent in the form of a gel, into which the swab containing the sample is immersed; this reagent will color in the presence of microorganisms or remain transparent, if the test is negative. The kit is thus able to react to almost all bacteria, molds and fungi such as, for example, Pseudomonas, E. Coli, Bacillus subtilis, and Candida albicans, with the exception of Streptococcus. The detection threshold for the test varies from 1 to 100 germs, depending on the species detected.
Surface hygiene control is an important practice to ensure the microbiological cleanliness of sensitive areas. All kind of industries are potentially involved. For example, door handles are a sensitive point for the transmission of nosocomial diseases in hospitals, worktops in certain trades such as butchers, ventilation systems on trains or planes, inside of reactors in the pharmaceutical industry.
The company is looking for partners active on hygiene sector, industrials or laboratories specialized in the service to the industry on microbiological control. The company is interested in commercial agreement with technical assistance with partner willing to integrate the test into their solutions, or license agreement with partner willing to get involved from production to commercialization.
- Fast and easy to use:
The test is used on surfaces directly without samples processing. This simple test allows estimating the cleanliness of a surface in a short time (from 1 hour for contaminated samples to 20 hours for very clean materials). The earlier the color appears, the higher the bacterial load measured on the sample. The positive test is unambiguous to read, it reveals a bright orange color, which is easily identifiable by the naked eye by the operator. The kit complements laboratory tests, on a Petri dish.
These convenient test kits can be used easily and permit to avoid the intervention of a specialized microbiology lab, the use of heavy and costly equipment, and time-consuming incubation periods. The test can be used by lightly trained personnel.
- Qualitative and sensitive:
Samples containing from 1 to 1 billion cfu/test of pure cultures have been detected in lab assays.
- Added values:
Wide spectrum application - the test has been evaluated on representative microbial species (a non-limited list from gram negative or positive bacteria, yeasts, and fungi).
Fast results - for high biocharge level, results within 2-3 h, for averaged microbial level, results within 6-8 h, for fungal spores, results within 24-36 h.
This reading speed is of interest to all users whether they are industrial (food-processing, pharmaceutical, cosmetics), in the hospital world or in the craft industry. As the tests are not specific, they do not meet the standard needs of control laboratories in the identification field.
Adequate for all surfaces - thanks to the wetting solution, the test can evaluate all the surfaces including liquids.
Patents granted in France and Europe on compositions, kits and their use.
Trademark registered in France and Europe in classes 1, 9, and 42.
The company is looking for other companies of all sizes across Europe and abroad, manufacturers of equipment addressing various industries such as hospitals, food, cosmetics, pharmaceutics.
The role of the partner sought for a commercial agreement with technical assistance is to integrate the test into their solutions. In this case the company will provide the tests to be integrated by the partner. This partner will generally be a player in hygiene and cleanliness control service.
The role of the partner sought for a license agreement will be to take in charge the industrial production of the tests. The partner must already be involved in the manufacture of devices and in particular microbiological diagnostics.
The company will also be able to sell the technology if this option proves to be important for the partner. In this case, all business features can be considered provided this technology integration is part of their strategy.
A contract set up between the candidates and the French company would specify all the conditions and more particularly the territory, the targeted market, the pricing and the exclusivity/non exclusivity.