The leading micro-electronics research center imec and the pioneering product development group Verhaert Masters in Innovation entered a strong partnership to ultrafast develop a ground-breaking rapid Covid test based on breath sampling and accelerated PCR technology. A functional prototype will now be commercialized by MiDiagnostics.
Imec announces collaboration with MiDiagnostics for commercialization
Imec and the Flemish government have announced the collaboration between imec and its spin-off MiDiagnostics to further commercialize imec’s breath sampling and ultra-fast PCR technology. Together with the Verhaert group they realized a functional prototype through an intense high-risk/high-gain process.
This ground-breaking innovation creates an almost holy grail of testing for the Covid-19 pandemic. The device is able to collect sample material from people through breathing rather than the widely-used nasal pharyngal sampling. On top of that, ultrafast PCR can be performed directly, allowing for extremely fast time-to-results. This provides a far more comfortable sample collection, as well as more efficient processing.
Collaboration imec & Verhaert
At the end of 2020, Verhaert and imec entered a strategic collaboration to co-develop a breakthrough solution based on imec technology platforms. In this context Verhaert also invested in the imec.istart fund to provide seed capital to new technology start-ups.
In January 2021, Verhaert and imec partnered up for this breakthrough rapid Covid PCR test development. In no time, they built a breath sampling consumable containing imec’s innovative chip solution and a high-end PCR processing instrument. These developments will be used as an assay and technology development platform to assess aspects beyond clinical performance. This is a significant step towards a real-life solution and allowing for future expansion into domains other than Sars-Cov-like cancers.
This collaboration required constant interaction between very different disciplines, for example biochemistry and chip development on imec’s part, and product development skills such as optical & thermal design, software development, mechatronics, electronics and mechanics from Verhaert.
To accomplish this strict time frame, a distinctive and agile project management approach was needed for fast decision-making and pursuing a parallel-path approach.