Ubiquitome’s ability to deliver fast test results for COVID-19 is attracting global inquires and top talent keen to get it to countries in desperate need.
Dr Paul Pickering, president and CEO of Ubiquitome, says since the United Kingdom’s top COVID-19 research team revealed it was considering using Liberty 16 to test front line medical staff, international scientists have realised waiting more than an hour for test results is not necessary.
The Liberty 16 is a handheld, battery-powered, real-time polymerase chain reaction (real-time PCR) device that can fast test and relay sample data via an iPhone app – all potentially within 40 minutes.
Called Liberty 16 because it can run 16 tests at the same time, it is a miniature DNA photocopier. It can amplify specific target DNA sequences to show the presence of any DNA of interest, whether that be human, animal, or wider environmental pathogens.
Dr Pickering says Ubiquitome has secured the services of Dr Susan J. Turner, a microbiologist with 30 years of experience across commercial, academic and government sectors. She will take the lead in explaining to governments and the scientific community how Liberty 16 works, the result of trials in the UK and Germany and the benefits of fast tracking it into the battle against COVID-19.
“The fight against COVID-19 is rightly being led globally by scientists,” Dr Pickering says. “Dr Turner has the expertise to explain quickly how Ubiquitome’s Liberty 16 can help in the frontline battle.”
Dr Turner spent five years in the United States as senior vice-president R&D at Bio Consortia. Another New Zealand-founded biotech, Bio Consortia moved to California after investment by Khosla Ventures and Otter Capital to join Khosla’s stable of “black swan” technology companies. Dr Turner led the establishment of the US R&D operation, which now operates with 35 scientists developing microbial products for crop improvement.
Prior to Bio Consortia, Dr Turner founded the microbial eco-genomics research group and centre for microbial innovation at the University of Auckland. She has also had early-career experience in public health.
Dr Pickering, a Harvard MBA graduate, has held executive roles with real time PCR market leader Life Technologies/Thermo Fisher.