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Fast Multitarget Pathogen Detection Platform Traceable within a Quality Assurance System

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - QFast2 (Fast Multitarget Pathogen Detection Platform Traceable within a Quality Assurance System)

Reporting period: 2014-10-01 to 2015-03-31

Every year, millions of people become ill and thousands die as a result of eating unsafe food. According to the European Food and Safety Authority more than 320,000 human cases of food-borne diseases caused by pathogenic micro-organisms are reported each year in Europe. For that reason, the European Food Safety Authority is imposing strict food safety regulations specifying the maximum permitted level of any contaminant in food. EFSA has also specified that all food manufacturers are responsible for safety of the food they commercialize. The implementation of these regulations has resulted in the growth of the food safety testing market as well as new innovative technologies for detection of all kinds of pathogens.
In this regard, the project QFast2 aimed at performing a feasibility study for the market introduction of the first Rapid Multi-Target Pathogen Detection Kit in development by iMICROQ. This is a revolutionary product that will enable the fast (<24h), cost-effective and simultaneous detection of three different pathogens (Salmonella, Listeria Monocytogenes and Staphylococcus) directly on-site for food & feed safety industry by non-specialised personnel, with a platform that allows the user to implement the instrument within its own information technology protocol, with full traceability of the sample through the overall process, driving greater productivity and delivering safer products to consumers further contributing directly to the competitiveness of the European food-feed safety industry.
During this action, and while preparing the Business plan for QFast2, we have identified potential customers and their needs. We have alligned our own vision of the product with this needs of the customers. In this sense we have detected that some of the costumers demand integration within actual traceability standards, and we have included this posibility within the scope of the Phase2 project.
With the help of our advisory board (composed of iMiCROQ's technical staff and external experts in the food and feed field), we have seen that there was a much wider impact of the product on the overall market and society. We had detected that the platform could be used not only by the food and feed producers and manufacturing industries, but can also be useful for retailers, public organisms and even final consumers, just by making the collected data available to these last two groups.
We have also eleborated a HAZOP, identifying possible hazards for the development and commercial phases, and evaluated posible contingencies.
We had analysed the size of the market and drafted a commercial plan to introduce the product world wide.
Finally, we contacted posible subcontractors that will help us during the prototyping stage.
The expected impact of QFast2 on the market will grow to an expected 800 devices installed that would perform 9.0M tests in a five year period (2019-2023)
We estimate QFast2 development will have an IRR of 49% and a Net Present Value of approximately €3M. It is expected that sales of QFast2 products will amount to 40% of the company’s total revenue in 2019, growing to a 90% by 2023. Owing to the current demand, projected low production and commercialisation costs, we foresee that the introduction of QFast2 in the market will be fast so that net profits will allow iMiCROQ to obtain a return on the investment in the third year, demonstrating the financial viability of the project and the product.

We will use our distribution channels, regional distributors and sales representatives in Europe EMEA and Latin America to introduce the technology in the first instance. AsiaAPAC, as a developing market is another commercial target. Agreements with local partners will be the basis for our commercial strategy in the initial stage, mainly in China, Japan Thailand and South Korea. USA is another interesting market but, due to its regulatory requirements, market entrance is expected to be slower.

QFast2 will be the new pathogen testing generation of products to reduce the prevalence of pathogens in productive processes and to increase food security, useful for all actors and stakeholders in the whole food chain, from farms to retailers or the final consumer and even to public institutions and other official bodies.