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Automate ISO-certified DNA screening platform to enhance the global food supply chain

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - BEAMitup (Automate ISO-certified DNA screening platform to enhance the global food supply chain)

Reporting period: 2021-08-01 to 2022-07-31

Today, food samples are taken at various stages of the supply chain from the farm to the production process and sent to a lab for ISO-certified test results. This can be for authentication, allergens, GMO, or even plant diseases. Results take days, increasing inventory cost, delaying supply-chain, and reducing shelf life. Product release before the certificate can also trigger product recalls. To hold (costly) or to release (risky)?
Food recalls throughout Europe are on the increase and they cost millions in profits and can even cause deaths.
BEAMitup is SwissDeCode's digital food testing and certification platform - a cloud-based read-out device (hard- & software) and disposable microfluidic test chips. The hardware is placed at the customer facilities and capsules are locally stored. An operator will take a food sample, insert it in our device and press a button. In 20 minutes, the company receives a digital certificate of results, which can immediately be shared with customers or authorities. Each certificate will be ISO17025 compliant, certified by SwissDeCode
Built on SwissDeCode’s proprietary technology, the BEAMitup device can be adapted to detect multiple issues in different parts of the food industry. For example, GMO grains, Basmati rice fraud and detection of animal product in vegan food.
The BEAMitup platform is ideal for custom clearance offices, commodity traders, logistic companies, food processing plants, food manufacturers and any extensive production facilities with high daily inputs coming from all across the world.
Our objective is to partner with large multinational companies, and “targeting their suppliers in origin countries to improve the quality of raw materials.
To tackle SARS COV2, our objective was to create a simple test for the surface of frozen foods. This did not become a regulatory requirement, so we pivoted to general surfaces. We have partnered with a European company to certify the effectiveness of the cleaning services they provide. Surfaces are sprayed with a surrogate virus and then tested for SARS COV2 after cleaning. This will now be rolled out across Europe.
The reactions for pork, Halomonas and milk beta-casein A2 were developed and tested with good results.
SwissDeCode B3 Covid-19 device, for human detection of the virus, generated the most interest from the Swiss Authorities. The development of our COVID-19 solution included a clinical trial stage with the Pakistan and Bulgarian Authorities.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the introduction of the rapid antigen test, we decided to change the priorities and adapt the B3 device to detect Coronavirus on surfaces (in addition to the work planned within WP 4 where our technology is applied to detect covid-19 DNA on humans). We were able to develop a reaction capable of detecting SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces, based on the detection of a surrogate virus with similar characteristics to the virus, but harmless to human health. Our technology validates cleaning procedures, since it allows us to obtain results (presence or absence of the surrogate virus), without the need for complex equipment, or trained employees, and with the great advantage of the speed of its results (approximately 40 minutes). Despite all the travel limitations due to the pandemic, we were able to perform 5 demonstrations (via streaming), to potential customers mainly with European companies.
In regards to the GMO corn BEAMitup, to fulfill the customer's needs several steps were implemented and achieved the Concept development, which included architecture and preliminary testing; the Trial, including the subsystems, independently developed; we finally integrate all components together, verified the machine could satisfy the intended scope of a pilot and finally executed demo testing and pilot activities. Our activities generated new IPs in terms of a published patent and another patent application.
On 12.11.20 a large grain trader signed a Cooperation Agreement with SwissDeCode to introduce a GMO test in Ukraine, and on December 2021 we started a pilot analyzing more than 200 blind samples, one sample every 5-7 minutes, and reaching a staggering 96.3% concordance with the manual test and delivering results with 15x less hands-on time. Our commercial team worked on the identification of other potential customers for this solution to address more pilots. All milestones were achieved on time and on budget.

IMPACT OF WAR IN UKRAINE: high number of tests and certificates are needed in this country, the largest grain and cereal importer to Europe. The deployment of BEAMitup is on hold. Food security is of paramount importance and our company qualifies for potential measures and subsidies created to deal with the ongoing situation.
The foreseen overall societal and economic impacts include an increase in the availability of rapid and portable DNA analysis systems to be directly implemented in the procedures of the food production sector and, an increment in the innovativeness of food industries incorporating food sensing analysis systems into their production routines able to reduce the SARS-CoV-2 contamination in their facilities, and for a new line of business for our company.
BEAMitup Covid 19 Prototype working on environmental samples
BEAMitup Corn GMO prototype working on Corn samples
BEAMitup Corn GMO prototype working on Corn samples