The ability to test samples quickly and onsite is critical for development in many medical and environmental areas. For many people it is critical to know that particular small molecules are present in a solution as fast as possible. Such rapid analysis allows them to make critical decisions that could improve the manufacturing of a medicine or determine if a water source is safe to drink.
Currently there are several ways to analyse the small molecules in a liquid. For very detailed analysis an R&D lab may turn to mass spectrometry. This approach requires specialist knowledge to run the equipment and to analyse the results. Additionally the cost of the equipment will result in many labs needing to use external collaborators or partners’ equipment. While this is a detailed method of analysis, it is slow, to the point that it may take several weeks to decipher the composition of a liquid sample. In many cases this timeframe is too slow to be useful.
Within life sciences R&D there are other solutions to small molecules analysis. Enzymatic techniques can detect a few different small molecules but this approach requires splitting a sample into different individual tests and may take a whole day to analyse a sample accurately. While these technologies offer solutions to small molecule analysis people can only use them if they have access to expensive labs containing the equipment and the knowledge needed to read the results. Such approaches are not easily scalable.
At Camena Bioscience we have developed technology that detects small molecules in a solution within minutes and not days or weeks. Our next-generation apatamer-like technology is also combined with proprietary nanofabricated optical arrays to create a truly portable and easy to use small molecule detection system. Instead of splitting a precious sample across several small molecule tests, we can measure all of those small molecules at the same time. Our approach will enable handheld devices to be used in the field or by individuals who need to get fast results where and when they need them.