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

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BEAMitup (Automate ISO-certified DNA screening platform to enhance the global food supply chain)

Reporting period: 2020-08-01 to 2021-07-31

Food recalls, costly mitigation measures following the evidence of contaminated, adulterating or counterfeiting foods are daily. It can cost several millions to take back the food company and cause severe damages to the brand. Lab tests, detecting food contaminants can take up to seven days and are thus not compatible with fresh-food processes.
The BEAMit-up platform that will bring the global food supply chain to the upper level of safety is composed of hardware, capsules and a cloud solution. The capsule integrates a rapid DNA screening, developed and patented by SwissDeCode. Placed at the point-of-care, the BEAMit-up platform will certify the presence of pathogens or identify pork in beef meat in only 30 minutes. An ISO 17025 certificate will be released by SwissDeCode for each test.
We will validate the BEAMit-up platform early access programs: We supply hardware and capsules to the customer, who will perform a pre-defined number of tests per week. We will investigate the presence of milk proteins, Halomonas and pork. We will also use the platform to detect GMO corn.
SwissDeCode estimates a positive EBITDA at 5 years of €6.8M with a company growth to 200 employees.
To tackle the SARS-CoV-2, rapid and accurate detection methods are needed. Since the beginning of March 2020, SwissDeCode has collaborated with The Geneva Hospital to extend the core technology to the detection of the virus. In parallel the company has adapted their technology to detect a surrogate virus of SARS-CoV-2 in work surfaces inside food factories through BEAMit up.
The reactions for pork, Halomonas and milk protein A2 were developed and tested with good results.
SwissDeCode B3 Covid-19 device, for human detection of the virus, was sent to MRIGlobal in the USA for on-site testing. MRIGlobal is an independent, not-for-profit, contract research organization based in Kansas City, Missouri. This solution 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, we decided to change the priorities and adapt the BEAMitup device and capsule, developed by SwissDeCode for food authentication, 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 of complex equipment, 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 of the GMO corn BEAMitup, to fulfill the customers needs several steps were implemented and achieved till this first report period,like the Concept development, which included architecture and preliminary testing; Trial, including the subsystems independently developed; at the moment we are working in the Integration step, which included the machine assembling and integration, the capsule production and coordination for pilots. On 12.11.20 we signed a Cooperation Agreement with one of the largest food processor, manufacturer and trader in Asia to introduce a DNA test in Ukraine for the detection of GMO Corn. Our commercial team is also working on the identification of other potential customers for this solution to address more pilots.
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 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.
Capsule – sample preparation
Adaptation of BEAMitup and capsules (swabs), for surface testing of surrogate SARS-CoV-2
Capsule chip