Brings Rapid Genetic Testing to the Cannabis Industry
BEVERLY, Mass., Sept. 05, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- LexaGene Holdings, Inc., (OTCQB: LXXGF; TSX-V: LXG) (the “Company”), a biotechnology company that develops genetic analyzers for rapid pathogen detection and other molecular markers, announced today that in August it placed a beta unit at CDX Analytics (CDX), an independent testing laboratory in Massachusetts, certified to test cannabis and hemp products for active ingredients as well as contaminants. CDX is the first cannabis testing laboratory in Massachusetts to adopt a DNA-based microbial detection technique. The first portion of beta testing is now complete, and when the analyzer was challenged with cannabis samples containing various amounts of cannabinoids – a difficult to handle chemical compound, LexaGene’s instrument reported successful results in all runs where PCR was expected.
Cannabis and hemp products frequently contain multiple bacterial and fungal pathogens that are capable of causing serious and even fatal infections. Smoking, vaping or ingesting contaminated products pose a significant risk to not just immunocompromised individuals, but also to healthy consumers. To safeguard the consumer, regulators in each state where products are approved for consumption are now requiring testing. Overall, the amount of testing is growing yearly at 12% CAGR and the value of the testing market is expected to reach $2B by 2024.1 In support of this projection, in 2018, the Cannabis Industry Association reported that just 5% of the cannabis products for sale in California were tested for safety and nearly 20% of marijuana products failed tests for potency and purity.2,3 Furthermore, in Massachusetts, where very stringent regulations currently exist, investigative reports found that three of four dispensaries sold cannabis that tested positive for yeast and mold.4
Dr. Brianna Cassidy, Ph.D., CDX’s Chief Science Officer, reports, “The largest obstacle in developing test methods for cannabis is that the cannabinoids can prevent the tests from working, so test methods usually require heavy customization before they can be applied to cannabis. During the first week of testing LexaGene’s analyzer, all of the marijuana buds we processed had successful PCR, proving to us that LexaGene is exceptional in its ability to mitigate impacts from the cannabis matrix. We are very impressed with the underlying science behind the way the LexaGene technology performs its analysis and believe it will be a game changer for the industry.”
Dr. Cassidy adds, “Our focus is to push our science to be the best possible; lower costs and increase our efficiency so we can offer the highest quality cannabis testing in the market. Our current microbial test method is limited by hands-on time, whereas LexaGene’s technology will substantially streamline our process. For example, if I were to process a sample using our standard method versus LexaGene’s analyzer, their analyzer would report results back about twice as fast as our current method – and require 95% less hands-on analyst time. These time savings would largely impact our test profit margins in a great way, not to mention the lower operating cost due to 5-fold less reagents used per test.”
Flexibility of the LX Analyzer technology allows for testing in many markets. The Company’s beta trial with CDX represents yet another market segment that LexaGene is able to serve.
Dr. Jack Regan, LexaGene’s CEO and Founder states, “We’ve had many inquiries from the cannabis sector, from identifying agricultural and human pathogens, to cannabis variety verification, to human genotyping to predict response to CBD and THC. The ‘open-access’ nature of our technology will allow beta testers to use our technology for their specific purpose.”
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About LexaGene Holdings Inc.
LexaGene is a biotechnology company that develops genetic analyzers for pathogen detection and other molecular markers for on-site rapid testing in veterinary diagnostics, food safety and for use in open-access markets such as clinical research, agricultural testing and biodefense. End-users simply need to collect a sample, load it onto the instrument with a sample preparation cartridge, enter sample ID, and press ‘go’. The LX Analyzer delivers excellent sensitivity, specificity, and breadth of detection and can process multiple samples at a time, in an on-demand fashion, returning results in about 1 hour. The unique open-access feature is designed for custom testing so that end-users can load their own real-time PCR assays onto the instrument to target any genetic target of interest.
About CDX Analytics
CDX Analytics is located in Salem, Massachusetts. Its core business is the testing and analysis of cannabis, hemp, and their derivative products to ensure clean and safe products for the end user. CDX Analytics also offers a range of advisory services to their clients and the industry overall.
Director of Corporate Marketing, LexaGene
800.215.1824 ext 206
Vice President of Capital Markets, LexaGene
800.215.1824 ext 207
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