- Molecular diagnostic platform intended for at-home testing
- PCR-grade sensitivity at antigen-level cost
- High-speed, highly sensitive and specific molecular testing for SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens in a portable device
- Key component of a potential future digital platform to enable faster and more effective self-care
3EO Health startup uses the Wyss’ user-friendly diagnostic nucleic acid detection technology together with additional components to build a digital platform that may empower patients with self-testing capabilities and access to results, information, and clinical partners.
The accurate diagnosis of many infectious and other diseases requires highly sensitive tests that patients need to have access to and that need to are performed in clinical laboratories. This takes valuable time for results to become available before treatment decisions can be made or follow-up examinations scheduled. This bottleneck has been amply illustrated by the COVID-19 pandemic in which sensitive PCR-based tests determining the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus are analyzed with the help of lab equipment and trained personal, adding labor, costs, as well as “travel and wait time” for patients. On the other hand, antigen tests can be carried out by patients themselves but their results are produced with a significant false-negative rate due to a lack in sensitivity.
Wyss researchers developed a rapid, easy-to-use, and affordable nucleic acid detection platform by combining PCR-grade diagnostic testing with automated device technology. They invented an innovative molecular assay to detect SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens with high speed, sensitivity, and specificity. The assay is performed with minimal user input in a reusable base unit that automates the molecular detection process, generates a fluorescent signal as a read-out of a positive detection event, uses pathogen-specific one-time-use consumables, and robustly produces unambiguous results on-site.
The streamlined nucleic acid detection technology for disease diagnostics was developed at the Wyss’ Molecular Robotics Initiative by Core Faculty member Peng Yin’s group, which has pioneered many fundamental and translational advances in DNA nanotechnology and synthetic biology. Thomas Schaus, M.D., Ph.D., a former Wyss Senior Scientist and Staff Lead at the Molecular Robotics Initiative, who has led a number of DNA-nanotechnology-driven projects in Yin’s group, developed the technology together with Nikhil Gopalkrishnan, Ph.D. and Jiyoun Jeong, Ph.D., experts in DNA nanotechnology with training in computer science and physics, respectively, and other present and former members of Yin’s team.
To help advance the technology toward clinical validation and commercialization, the team first focused on detecting the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and prototyped the diagnostic system with its combined molecular and mechanical technology components, creating first test devices at the Wyss Institute.
3EO Health was formed as a startup commercializing the portable nucleic acid detection technology with Yin as its founder. By first developing a highly sensitive and portable COVID-19 test to fill present diagnostic gaps in the ongoing pandemic, the company further improved the speed and signal output of their molecular detection method, and transformed the Wyss’ prototypes into reliable and manufacturable devices. However, 3EO Health aims to add other components to the Wyss technology to build a digital platform that empowers patients with self-testing capabilities, and to leverage the results toward faster and more effective patient care.