Tom Cohen, CEO of Nanopore Diagnostics

(Tom Cohen) Hi, my name is Tom Cohen. I’m the co-founder and CEO at Nanopore Diagnostics. We’re developing a rapid onsite platform for screening for microbial pathogens in a wider array of sample types. This could be, for instance, in looking at crop pathogen detection, trying to detect the disease before symptoms show, partly looking for diagnostics in the livestock space, or maybe post-slaughter in a slaughterhouse, or maybe in an aquaculture pond. The test will be an instrument that has different consumables focused on these different verticals that we plan to attack. It’s a nucleic acid base counter. The way this test will work is it would take a sample; it would splice all the cells present. In the kind of soup that remains, it binds a probe to a particular nucleic acid indicative of the species and pulls it through a sensor that then counts that probe-bound target. It utilizes genetic sequences indicative of nasty bacteria that might be present and counts them. The way we’re able to potentially attack multiple verticals within the Agtec Space would be by having different consumables that would focus on the pathogens relevant to a certain application. For instance, in the food safety application, we might focus on different E. coli variants. In crop pathogen detection, we might look at crop greening disease or different viral vectors that are important in that space. We hope we’re about two years out from launching the product. We think, maybe about nine months to a year away from doing some onsite actual testing. Our history primarily is in clinical science. This is actually an academic invention that we pulled out of the university. In the academic world, then also for the first nine months of our existence, we focused on the human clinical applications of our platform. We now have developed a lab prototype and validated that with some clinical samples. Before moving forward into turning our prototype into a product, we decided to make sense to pivot to a space that has a lower barrier to entry. We know we face significant barriers in the clinical space due to the reimbursement and FDA regulatory process. By moving to some markets with lower barriers to entry, we have lower perceived risks and become a more fundable opportunity. I think another key point is, the reason I’m here today then is, just to get to know the Agtec sector and try to identify opportunities for our platform. My background is exclusively in biomedical science. As we look to potentially pivot to the space, events like this are key just to meet the people that might one day use the product and identify their needs.

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