Biomeme To Launch Portable Sample-To-Answer PCR System, Host-Response Testing

The pandemic wrought remarkable changes in diagnostics, some of which may improve healthcare for future generations. It also precipitated a dramatic expansion for Philadelphia-based mini PCR instrument and assay developer Biomeme.

The company is now using revenues from CAP and CLIA accredited testing labs it owns to create a sample-to-answer instrument and further differentiate itself through a focus on host-response testing.

Biomeme was founded in 2013 to commercialize a mini PCR system called Franklin. The company debuted a wholly owned subsidiary of testing labs, called One Health Laboratories, in February of 2019, in part to capitalize on the attributes of the Franklin system, according to Jesse vanWestrienen, a Biomeme cofounder and executive VP of products.

“We felt that a lot of the types of products that Biomeme was creating would be really useful in [lab-developed test] environments and would add some capabilities that other CLIA and CAP labs don’t necessarily have,” vanWestrienen said, like mobility and ease of use.

The firm validated a lab-developed respiratory panel for influenza A, influenza B, and respiratory syncytial virus prior to the pandemic.

Then the pandemic hit and there was a dire need for SARS-CoV-2 testing. In May of 2020, Biomeme obtained Emergency Use Authorization for a lab-developed SARS-CoV-2 assay to be run at One Health Labs, and three months later, it received a second EUA for a modified test using the firm’s two-minute manual nucleic acid extraction kit, called the M1 Sample Prep Cartridge, and running on the Franklin or on standard thermal cyclers.

“Then, it was a matter of scaling because obviously, the demand was insane,” vanWestrienen said.

Over the course of the pandemic, One Health Labs has overseen more than 100 temporary testing sites using the Franklin mobile PCR system.

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What Roundtrip Learned From Two Years Of Internal DEI Audits

The data has influenced hiring practices, leadership decisions and internal policy, such as removing college degrees as requirements from some jobs.

Company leaders who choose to engage in conversations with their employees about diversity, equity and inclusion strategies know those conversations can feel clumsy or start from an uncomfortable place.

In the wake of the rising Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, Roundtrip founder and CEO Mark Switaj decided it was no longer appropriate for the Callowhill-based company to stay quiet on issues of race or current events. It was more important, he thought, to take a hard look at the company’s hiring and operating practices in order to be as inclusive and representative as possible.

While Switaj said he recognizes that diverse teams are better for business, he also wanted the company to better represent the population the healthcare transportation company serves.

“We wanted to make sure we were telling our story,” the CEO told “Large tech brands were showing maybe skewed perspectives, but for populations we serve, most of our clients are lower socioeconomic communities and the elderly.”

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Biomeme & Predigen Merge to Enable Point-of-Care Delivery of Host Response Tests That Address Critical Unmet Needs in Healthcare

Biomeme, the leading provider of portable PCR testing solutions, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Predigen, a privately held diagnostic company and emerging leader in precision medicine focused on host response diagnostics.

Predigen’s acquisition will expand Biomeme’s capabilities across infectious disease and clinical microbiology, business management, and commercialization.

redigen’s portfolio includes flagship host gene expression biomarkers for the pre-symptomatic detection of viral infections as well as biomarkers that accurately discriminate viral from bacterial infections to enable appropriate patient management and antibiotic stewardship. Predigen also has signatures for sepsis diagnosis, sepsis risk stratification, and a pipeline of biomarkers for non-infectious diseases. With nine different patents at various stages of execution, this scientific team has received over $50 million in grant funding from the Department of Defense (DoD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

According to Brian Best, Predigen’s CEO, “Prior to the pandemic, the over-utilization of antibiotics and increasing antimicrobial resistance were dominant concerns among the infectious disease community. That need still exists and it is a significant market opportunity that requires accurate, near-patient and rapid-result performance capabilities. This merger will enable an end-to-end solution to meet this challenge.”

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Why Houwzer Launched This Nonprofit Fund for Low-Income, First-Time Homebuyers

Tech-enabled real estate brokerage Houwzer this week launched the RiseUp Fund, a nonprofit to bring grants and resources to low- to moderate-income first-time homebuyers.

The Center City company’s new program comes amid a still-hot housing market and the recent re-up of the Philadelphia Housing Development Corp.’s own $10,000 grant program for first-time homebuyers, Philly First Home.

The fund, which receives $100 from every Houwzer transaction, launched first in Philly, with plans to expand to Houwzer’s other markets, DC and Baltimore next year, and Florida in 2023. Recipients of RiseUp funds get $5,000 in grants for down payments or closing costs, and go through first-time buyer educational courses.

Those eligible are considered ALICE (asset limited, income constrained and employed), per United Way. These individuals and households are those least likely to grow generational wealth, a process the RiseUp fund is aiming to change. In Philadelphia, the median income for a family in these circumstances is between $31,000 and $84,000. These folks must have saved at least $3,000 but no more than $10,000 and have a minimum credit score of 620 to be eligible for the grant.

“As we continue to navigate one of the most difficult housing climates in history, Houwzer remains committed to leveling the playing field and assuring everyone has the opportunity to achieve the American dream of homeownership,” Mike Maher, Houwzer CEO said in a statement.

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After a Pandemic Growth Spurt, COVID-19 Test Maker Biomeme is Moving its HQ to North Broad and Looking to the Future

About this time last year, Biomeme — makers of a rapid COVID-19 test and other diagnostic hardware — had about 35 people in its 10th and Chestnut streets HQ.

Enter a global pandemic. The company, now about 280 employees across the U.S. and about 120 in the Philadelphia region, has outgrown its office. It will join esports company Nerd Street Gamers at a 44,000-square-foot office, lab, testing and manufacturing in a new corporate headquarters at 401 N. Broad St., owned by Netrality, operator of fiber-dense data centers that allow for super-fast internet.

Biomeme currently produces mobile, real time-PCR devices and other testing hardware. It’s currently manufacturing products including a FDA emergency use authorized COVID-19 test.

The move will help the expansion of the company’s manufacturing capacity, and is supported by a $3 million grant from Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. It will allow Biomeme to produce more than 10 million tests annually, the company said. Biomeme has been working with Strada Architecture LLC to build out the space to meet all of its office, manufacturing and lab needs.

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