Mologic was founded in 2003 and currently employs around 70 people worldwide. CSO Paul Davis helped pioneered the use of lateral flow technology in home pregnancy testing in the 1980s. Alere, now part of Abbott, acquired Mologic in 2009 but divested the firm in 2014.
Since then, the once-again independent Mologic has worked to build its capabilities in the development of point-of-care assays and devices. This includes expertise in developing and manufacturing lateral flow assays, enzyme linked immunosorbent assays, reagents such as peptides and antibodies, device development, contract manufacturing, and services for partners.
In addition to infectious disease, respiratory disease and women’s health are also core markets for the company. Within its infectious disease testing program, Mologic has tests in development focused on sepsis, dengue, peritoneal infections, and periodontal disease, among other diseases.
According to Fitchett, Mologic intends to deploy the CARD platform as part of a new responsive manufacturing and education facility at DiaTropix, an infectious disease testing center being set up at the Institut Pasteur of Dakar. Amadou Sall, scientific director at the institute, said that DiaTropix should become operational by the end of this year.
“We are working on establishing a platform from which we can develop rapid diagnostic tests, that is completely dedicated to epidemic disease and completely dedicated to tropical diseases,” Sall said.
Sall said that funding is in place to support the opening of the center but declined to provide a budget for DiaTropix.
“The expertise of Mologic is in doing rapid diagnostic tests, and making it happen in a context like Africa, where this is of the utmost importance,” Sall added. “This will help with surveillance and will help drive epidemics down.”
Sall said that countries in West Africa need a center like DiaTropix to improve surveillance of epidemic diseases in the region. “If you talk about epidemic diseases, the earlier you detect them, the better you can control them,” Sall said. “In surveillance, the weakest link in most countries in Africa is often the laboratory,” he added. “If you have rapid detection tests, though, you don’t need a laboratory. It’s simple to use in a decentralized context.”
Currently, reducing the spread of yellow fever and dengue are objectives of the institute and will be a focus of DiaTropix once it becomes operational. “These are common diseases transmitted in a context where if you can control them it can have a humanitarian and economic impact,” he noted. “Usually what happens is that by the time we get people tested by a lab, the epidemic has spread,” he said. Having a rapid, low-cost platform would help control high-consequence epidemics like ebola or yellow fever, he noted.
Fitchett said that Mologic is working with Institut Pasteur of Dakar to introduce them to the new CARD lateral flow technology and to train staff members with the new aspects of lateral flow device manufacturing. He confirmed the company also would work with the new DiaTropix center on diagnostics for dengue and yellow fever.
“Yellow fever is number one in our priorities,” noted Sall. “It’s a major killer.” He remarked that early detection of yellow fever is also in line with World Health Organization strategies to eliminate the epidemic in Africa and South America by 2026.
In addition to yellow fever and dengue, DiaTropix might introduce other tests for meningitis and measles, Sall further noted.