ABACUS DIAGNOSTICA Abacus Diagnostica’s technology is based on university-driven innovations and in-house test development and production. The inventions are protected by international patent families.
Abacus Diagnostica, specialists in DNA testing and rapid diagnostics of infectious diseases, seeks brisk growth in international markets. The key to this global conquest lies in a product family that saves the healthcare sector both time and money.
— With DNA-based testing, the cause of infection can be identified quickly and reliably. Our tests decrease the response time from 2–3 days to as little as one hour compared to traditional culture-based methods. In practice, the actual work only takes about five minutes, as the analyser takes care of the rest automatically,” explains CEO Tom Palenius.
— Molecular diagnostics is experiencing strong growth and a major shift. New, exotic technologies are being developed constantly, and new technology companies are being started up at the same high pace. From a business perspective, the sector is largely controlled by major global companies, which has prompted us to select a few narrow niche areas for which we develop products.
Rapid test results
A growth company based in Turku, Southwestern Finland, Abacus Diagnostica was awarded as the winner in the European Venture Contest’s (EVC) Life Science category last year in Germany. 130 finalists had been selected for the EVC competition finals from among a group of 850 growth companies. The Finnish company focuses on hospital infections and critical infections that require rapid testing, as well as tests performed on mothers and newborns at childbirth.
The first tests were developed for the rapid diagnosis of a hospital-acquired infection, followed by a test for identifying the organism that causes antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. The company’s latest launch is a test for the detection of Group B Streptococcus, which is a major cause of serious infections in newborn babies, in particular.
— There are currently around 60 GenomEra systems in use globally, some of which are already in active use as part of routine procedures. Growth markets present a major opportunity, Palenius says.
Financing is a challenge
Country-specific product registration outside Europe is a painstaking process, though. The registration procedures in Russia and Kazakhstan are already under way.
— In Kazakhstan, the situation looks good: we might be able to start sales this year. In Russia, a lot of time and effort will still be required for registration, but we expect to be able to take matters forward there, too, by the end of next year.
The company keeps a close eye on the developments in China and India and the situation in South America, Canada and certain Middle-Eastern and Central Asian countries. The company also has co-operation partners in Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Singapore, for example.
If the second round of investor seeking currently under way is successful, the company will seek growth by rapidly expanding to several countries and focusing on broadening its test range. To date, venture capital financing has been provided by two Finnish investors.
— By global comparisons, our financing base is thin. When meeting with potential investors, they have actually been astonished to hear how far we’ve come with so little money, Palenius says with a smile.