Jack of all Trades

By June 6, 2017Articles

– Brendan O’Farrell, DCN Diagnostics

“The discovery of immunoassay was part mathematics, part physics and part biology. I learned about biology from Sol (Solomon Berson) and he learned about physics from me.”
Rosalyn Yalow, co-inventor of radio-immunoassay and Nobel Laureate for Physiology or Medicine in 1977.
Rosalyn Yalow was a key part of the team that invented the core technology that became the multi-billion-dollar immunoassay industry. Right from the start she recognized that the development of immunoassays required a collaborative approach and a mastery – or at least working knowledge – of numerous disciplines.

Jumping forward almost 60 years since the publication of the seminal Yalow and Berson paper on the immunoassay of endogenous plasma insulin1, this principle is more true than ever.

For example, take the development of a lateral flow assay system. One can identify a need for a knowledge of immunology, organic chemistry, materials science, fundamental biology, fluid dynamics, plastics, physics and optics.  In addition, it is necessary to have a deep understanding of mechanical and design engineering, molding, manufacturing process design, and the myriad other disciplines that go into converting a conceptual assay into a usable, reproducible, robust, commercial product. That’s before we even start thinking about regulation, trials, quality systems, user experience studies, validation, etc.!

Perhaps this is why there are so few places one can actually learn how to develop commercial lateral flow products outside of a few industrial sources like DCN. With this technology there truly is no substitute for experience when it comes to developing a product that can be robustly manufactured and produced to meet specifications in high volume. It’s hard to find people who will pass on the benefit of their hard-won experience. As a result, it’s tough to break into this industry from a standing start and sometimes even difficult to improve our knowledge base when we’re already in it!

At DCN, we understand that fact, which is why we make such an effort to provide education and training services to the industry alongside our development services. We’ve taken an approach that many through the years have deemed counter-intuitive – an OEM company that actually teaches others how to do what it does. How crazy is that?

We believe that our clients put immense trust in our promise of delivery. Part of the process of building and maintaining that trust is transparency. Part of transparency is transferring information. We have always tried to help, in good faith to build this market and make our clients successful. As the market grows, we grow. That is why we offer Education and Training Courses in Lateral Flow Technology on a one-on-one basis with our clients.

It’s also why we organize the Advanced Lateral Flow Course (ALFC) with our partners at QIAGEN Lake Constance. This seminar is designed to help educate the industry on the best development and manufacturing practices. It also connects our clients with our Verified Partner NetworkTM and encourages networking with each other. The ALFC this year will be held in San Diego on October 24-26. All of the details of the course for participants and sponsors are available now at www.dcnevents.com. Join us for the premier educational and networking opportunity in the lateral flow industry. Last year’s course drew over 140 participants, 18 industrial sponsors and representatives from the premier technology, component and platform providers in the industry. This year will be bigger and better.

Collaboration and cooperation are essential to success in this industry. It really does take a village to bring a high performance lateral flow test to the market. Come meet the neighbors.