2012 Winner: Outstanding Achievement In Applied Technology And Innovation Sponsored By SAIT
Technology Company On Forefront Of Microchip Diagnostics
A small Edmonton company has developed the world’s first point of care test (POCT) for Vitamin D levels. Co-founded by Drs. Seema and Rajan Gupta — a husband and wife team — NanoSpeed Diagnostics Inc. is developing a low-cost lab-on-a-chip medical diagnostic device that provides quick and accurate assessment of health information.
A recent study conducted at McGill University found that up to 60 per cent of North Americans are Vitamin D deficient, which has been found to increase the risks for several major diseases, such as heart disease, different types of cancer, Alzheimer’s and dementia.
NanoSpeed Diagnostic’s POCT system, Test4™ series, tests the levels of Vitamin D level, thyroid hormone and specific mineral levels, like calcium and iron. Test4D is a simple one-step test that can be done without expertise and equipment. It can sample an array of data from a fraction of the blood drop — and it delivers results in 10 minutes, instead of a week or more required through traditional medical channels. Its portability makes it accessible to almost anyone anywhere.
“The microchip technology we are developing in the company is based on taking our health in our own hands, literally” says Dr. Seema Gupta. “Our focus is on how people can get more nutritional and health information in a timely and cost-effective manner. That’s why we develop products that can be used by any one.”
Interest in NanoSpeed Diagnostic’s Test4D is strong because of market need and the commercialization potential. POCT systems are seen as the most promising testing method in developed and developing countries because of their speed and extremely low cost.
NanoSpeed Diagnostics is playing a crucial role in this technology development within Alberta.
“If Alberta Health Services adopts our testing systems for both Vitamin D and thyroid hormone, the system could save $75 million a year,” Dr. Rajan Gupta suggests.
The prototype system for Test4D has already been developed and NanoSpeed Diagnostics is in the process of obtaining approvals from Health Canada and the Federal Drug Administration in the U.S. Several companies around the globe, where regulations are not as stringent, are purchasing the system and testing market potential by letting doctors use it.
The company has already assembled engineers and scientists for product development; and subject to FDA approval, NanoSpeed Diagnostics could create new jobs for more top-notch research talent in Alberta.
At the End of the Day
At the core of NanoSpeed Diagnostics, which was incorporated in 2009, is Drs. Seema and Rajan Gupta’s desire to touch individuals around the world by developing technology that delivers accessible preventative health care.
“We feel rewarded that we have been able to use our education, knowledge and experience to contribute to a healthier society,” Dr. Seema Gupta says.