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LDL was formed in 2011 by the inventors of the technology and Bioscience Ventures Limited (BSV). The purpose of the company is to exploit a novel platform technology that can be used for assays in a wide range of sectors.
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LDL’s diagnostic platform exploits the phenomenon of linear dichroism (LD) for a number of uses ranging from detection of antibiotic resistance in infections to testing for bacteria that cause rotting in food crops. The advantages of our approach include portability (we use a hand held device), speed (it takes only 2 minutes to get a result) and the ability to check for multiple targets and types of targets in the same test at the same time.
Multiple Detection (multiplexing)
A key attribute of this technology is that it can measure multiple targets simultaneously in the same sample. Each detector molecule is labelled with a different colour which means that we measure the concentration of several targets at the same time which can, for example, help a physician in their rapid and accurate diagnosis of a disease. The plug and play nature of our technology means that we can easily blend a range of detector molecules to make assays for a wide range of uses.
Different Modes of Detection (multi-modal)
Many different molecular recognition methods can be used on the detector molecules to measure target analytes. For example, antibodies can be used to recognise antigens such as cell surface markers on bacteria or human cells; DNA can be used in two ways; the first is recognition of complementary DNA (or RNA) sequences so that particular specific genes or transcripts can be detected. Second, the use of DNA as aptamers (oligonucleotides that bind to a specific target molecule). Other binding modes are possible and specific molecular interactions could be incorporated into tests.
The approaches outlined above work well for large targets (e.g. bacteria or genes) because the sensor molecules are de-aligned upon binding to them. For smaller targets (e.g. toxins, hormones or explosives) we can use a competition assay whereby there are two detector molecules which bind to each other in the absence of the target but are prevented from binding in the presence of the target. This methodology can be combined with both the multiplexing and the multimodal assays outlined above.
The measurement of the LD signal has traditionally been carried out on large, expensive research instruments costing tens of thousands of pounds. LDL has developed a handheld reader that can be used in a wide variety of settings. The use of dyes for multiplexing which absorb in the visible region of the light spectrum has enabled LDL to use inexpensive optical components and miniaturise the hardware down to a size where it is fully portable. This has principally been achieved by the use of miniaturized components. The whole system can be run from an internal rechargeable battery without relying on mains power or computer access.