mariPOC®: First team from Finland to submit an entry to prize
Dr Janne O. Koskinen is Director of Research & Development at ArcDia. He is a key person in mariPOC product development and an expert in in vitro diagnostics of respiratory tract infections.
Team mariPOC® from Finland is used to being the first to pursuit and succeed in difficult things. ArcDia International Ltd., MariPOC’s parent company, launched the automated rapid test system mariPOC® for multianalyte detection of acute infections at the point of care a few years ago. It was and still is the only multianalyte continuous feed test system, meaning there is no need for batch analysis or laborious single-analyte tests anymore. Additionally, it is so easy to operate that nurses can run the tests without any lab training. They even find that it helps their work when compared to traditional rapid tests or samples sent to labs for multiplex analysis. The first diagnostic products of ArcDia are intended to provide specific diagnosis for illnesses like influenza and tonsillitis. Given our credentials, it wasn’t a big surprise for team mariPOC® to hear that we were the first Finnish team to submit. Of course the news was still pleasant to hear!
mariPOC: The benefits
ArcDia’s mariPOC® device is the first product in the global market to allow truly efficient testing of respiratory infections at the point-of-care. It was shown in a very recent scientific article published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology that in differential diagnostics of Streptococcal throat infections, mariPOC® is more sensitive than the old golden standard, a live culture. With mariPOC® the patient management process is made more efficient, helping to decrease unnecessary patient admissions and treatment visits. Thanks to mariPOC®, the patient is prescribed with the correct medication, recovery is accelerated and potential complications of suboptimal medication are avoided. The innovation is significant in that it enables improvements in infection control ability, including unnecessary prescription and usage of antibiotics.
A key event leading to the development of mariPOC® was the request from key opinion leaders in Finland, familiar with our technology development work, to develop a solution for a daily clinical problem they face: how to test and manage respiratory infections. So we went and did it! The professors were right: the problem is huge and the product that we designed with the help of clinicians, applied researchers and nurses has shown to be beneficial. There are nearly 30 mariPOC® test system installations in Finland (population of 5.5 million) in clinical use. Lab users reach testing levels comparable to those of big centralized university hospital virology labs. ArcDia also distributes the novel product abroad, mainly in Europe.
Entering the Longitude Prize
In 2014 market research consulting firm Frost & Sullivan awarded ArcDia with “The Best Practices Award for point-of-care product leadership.” After reading what the Longitude Committee is looking for, analysing how mariPOC® fits into this, and analysing competing approaches on the market and in the published pipelines, team mariPOC® felt that its product matches the prize goals.
We submitted an entry in May 2015, the Prize’s first submission deadline, and despite mariPOC® not getting the prize at the first try, we feel enthusiastic and positive to continue working towards the prize. We received valuable comments and insight from the evaluation committee and we were encouraged to resubmit after some further developments to our products, pipeline and application. We feel confident that after considering the feedback we have good chances to win the challenge in some of the future rounds!
Background: The technology
ArcDia’s mariPOC® is based on immunoassay of pathogen specific antigens. The immunoassay binding reaction takes place on latex microbeads, which are detected by two-photon excitation fluorometry. This technique, proprietary to ArcDia, allows sensitive immunoassays from miniature reaction volumes without separation steps. Separation-free assay system means that reaction kinetics can be followed in real time. In mariPOC® this is taken advantage of so that high positive samples are detected within 20 minutes but also low positive samples can be detected at the patient treating unit within 2 hours. Sending of samples to central lab for specialised testing is usually avoided. The unique technological features are the reason why ArcDia has been able to develop, first in the world, a truly efficient and moderately priced product to tackle the unnecessary use of antibiotics on a global level. High analysis capacity, ability to detect multiple pathogens at once and ease of use are prerequisites for such a solution.