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Local company develops new petri dish

Published: Mon, June 7, 2010 @ 12:10 a.m.




A local biotechnology company has started production on a new type of petri dish that it says has the potential to shape the future of laboratory testing.

Nanologix, a small company tucked behind the Emerald Diner at 843 North Main St., finished renovations of its production facility earlier this year and has started to manufacture its BioNanoPore, or BNP, test kits. The company expects to begin full-scale production “any day now,” said chief executive Bret Barnhizer.

The patented BNP technology, developed at the company’s research lab in Cincinnati, promises to confirm the presence of microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses in a fraction of the time needed by standard petri dishes, Barnhizer said.

“We’re looking forward to making a big impact in the market,” he said. “I don’t think we are going to be a small company for very long.”

The Hubbard site, a former bath and cabinet shop, has room for 56 production machines with the capacity to produce 350,000 test kits per day.

The company has only installed eight machines so far, but more are on the way, said Barnhizer.

Nanologix has 10 employees working at its Hubbard facility, and plans to hire about 10 more by the end of the year, Barnhizer said. At full capacity, the site could employ 75-100 workers, he said.

“Our goal is high-volume production,” Barnhizer said.

Barnhizer expects that, as Nanologix’s technology becomes better known, the company will be able to corner a significant portion of the laboratory testing market.

Unlike standard petri dishes, the BNP product puts the microorganism on a membrane that is impermeable to the cells. The nutrient solution below and above the membrane allow the organism to grow.

Instead of waiting for microorganism growth to become visible in the petri dish, the membrane is put on a staining solution that highlights growth before it could be seen in a standard petri dish.

“We’re the next generation of petri dishes,” Barnhizer said. “We are going to make it so people depend on petri dishes.”

The technology has been successfully tested by several third party laboratories, Barnhizer said.

The Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, an applied science and technology company, published a study last year that shows that BNP kits showed results in significantly less time than traditional methods in tests for anthrax and bubonic plagues. According to the study, the BNP anthrax tests took only six hours, while traditional tests needed 24. And the BNP tests for bubonic plague cut the traditional testing time — 48 hours — in half.

The potential for Nanologix’s rapid detection technology is huge, Barnhizer said. For example, if doctors could detect harmful pathogens — such as staphylococcus, which causes staph infections, or Group B streptococcus, a harmful bacteria found in 30 percent of reproductive-age women — in a shorter amount of time, they would not have to use broad-spectrum antibiotics while waiting for test results. This would presumably lessen the existence of antibiotic-resistent bacteria, Barnhizer added.

“This is pretty much the biggest thing to happen to the petri dish,” Barnhizer said. “I won’t say it’s as big as penicillin, but its huge.”


1gingerspice(142 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm excited! Wishing you the best of success! Being in the medical fied, I realize the importance of your product.Also, it is so nice to read a positive story related to this area ! Believe, have faith and all things will come together as they should!

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2eudius(1 comment)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

I am an NNLX investor and have been waiting 3 years for this news. Kudos to NNLX and the BOD they have put health and carrying before wealth and personal gains. I feel that Bret and team truly care and are excited that this technology will make a big difference in the efficiency of treatment for viruses and bacteria in the human body and also reduce the resistant strains that are being created because of the broad spectrum antibiotics being used. And to also create jobs for the local economy is a win, win, win situation.

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3Traceman59(1 comment)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

I am from the Boston area, have followed the company's progress since the beginning of 2009, and also a shareholder. Nanologix is a great company and CEO Bret is a class act. Their lead scientist, Sergey Gazenko, made all of this possible and he is a caring person. This company is going places and it is nice to see this thing take off in a small town in Ohio. Anything can happen in this country! Nice story!

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4kimo(1 comment)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

I laud this small company for doing research and finding faster methods of diagnosing bacterial diseases and problems. Any medical institution should be delighted to have lab results faster. If their testing is as claimed, it looks like they might have a bright future, and perhaps Ohio can reduce some of their unemployment. Good luck company, and I wish you well. Maybe someday your test will find out something early that is wrong with me and I might be treated sooner than later. Again...Good luck.

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