The DiscoGnosis consortium brings together 7 partners from academia and industry from 4 different European countries:

Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg (ALU-FR),
Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK)

Konstantinos Mitsakakis; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Partner description: The Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg (ALU-FR) is the project coordinator. It is one of the largest academic institutions worldwide dedicated to the education of microsystems engineers as well as research and development of microsystems technologies, counting a total of 20 professors and more than 300 research and technical staff. The Chair of MEMS Applications numbers more than 30 engineers, biologists and technicians. The broad range of the personnel expertise reflects its high interdisciplinarity, which is essential to cope with the challenges of the activities related to Lab-on-a-Chip, µ-TAS and microfluidic systems that the group undertakes. The Lab-on-a-Chip Group dedicates its research since 2002 to the development of customized Lab-on-a-Chip systems and microfluidic platforms for biological applications; simulation and prototyping; development and full implementation; fast and inexpensive implementation of biochemical assays in Lab-on-a-Chip platforms. The group is in joint management with the strategic partner HSG-IMIT (Hahn-Schickard-Gesellschaft, Institut für Mikro- und Informationstechnik), profiting from additional resources. A wide range of specialized equipment (e.g., hot embossing, mold fabrication, milling and microstructuring facilities) is routinely used by the group for microfluidics development, in combination with analytical and quality control instrumentation. Life science resources include PCR equipment, cell culture labs, microarray scanners, etc. The group is (and has been) involved in various EC projects, namely, Autocast (FP7), NANOBE (FP7), MicroBuilder (FP6), Healthy Aims (FP6), MagRSA (FP6), Microactive(FP6), and through its strategic partner, HSG-IMIT, in the projects PARCIVAL (FP7) and ASCMicroplat (FP7).

Role in the project: IMTEK will be in charge of the microfluidics development, patient-to-platform interfacing, and system integration on a disc-shaped platform of fluidic unit operations ranging from raw sample processing and purification to detection. IMTEK has also the coordinating task in the project.

Rohrer AG

Andreas Blömeke; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Partner description: Rohrer AG is a global acting company with its subsidiaries and partners to provide leading solutions and service close to the markets and customers. We are constantly analysing market needs and creating new cutting-edge technology, procedures and products to increase added value for partners and customers. Rohrer comprises of: the business unit “Processing & Packaging Technology (PPT)” for building customized and niche market packaging machines from laboratory type to scale-up versions; and the business unit “Tool Technology (TT)” for the production of forming, filling and sealing tools for OEM and customers in the packaging industry. The business unit PPT, involved in the EU research project with its blister machines, is focused on various specific niche markets within the healthcare and medical device markets. Core competences of PPT are primarily grouped around thermo- and alu-foil forming, which are key processes of any development of a new blister design. Rohrer develops new technologies and non-standard processes on the basis of the current GMP and GAMP -Good (Automated) Manufacturing Practice- guidelines. This brings PPT in a position to go beyond established barriers. Hence, it enables Rohrer’s customers to achieve either USPs -Unique Selling Propositions- or less time to the market launch. Furthermore, PPT has also a network of partners with complementary knowledge, i.e., competences in production line processes, so as to enable cutting edge innovations, such as high precision powder and liquid filling as well as required levels of contained production. Rohrer is involved in various EC projects, namely, MicroMasterPrinter (MNT-ERA), PARCIVAL (FP7) and ASCMicroplat (FP7).

Role in the project: Rohrer will develop the production processes for the disposable disc cartridges comprising of thermoforming, filling, sealing and cutting.

University Medical Cente Göttingen (UMG), Department of Virology

UMG participates from 11.2012 till 08.2013 and is substituted by UoS due to
move of the PI (see below).

Frank Hufert; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
Manfred Weidmann; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Partner description: University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) is one of the leading university medical centers in Germany providing patient care, teaching for medical students, and research. Since 2005 the Department of Virology at UMG has a focus on the pathogenesis and diagnosis of emerging viral diseases in a drive to strengthen this field of research in Germany. A big collection of arboviruses is available. The laboratory at the UMG is specialized in the analysis of the interaction of viruses with the interferon system, and dendritic cells (DCs), the development of reverse genetic systems for arboviruses, and the development of rapid molecular and serological diagnostics for arboviruses and haemorrhagic fever viruses. In the past, about 50 F-RT-PCR assays for the detection of pathogenic Bunyaviridae, Filoviridae, Flavi- and Togaviridae were successfully developed and validated. More recently, a LabDisk platform (similar to the one implemented in DiscoGnosis) for the rapid detection of 10 CBRN agents via isothermal amplification was developed in a BMBF funded project. The Department of Virology has well equipped BSL-2 and BSL-3 facilities (real time cyclers, microarray scanners, etc). A pyrosequencer is available and sequencing approaches starting from virus culture supernatants have already led to the successful characterisation of several viruses (3 published; publication of the description of 7 other viruses in preparation). The partner has strong participation in national and international projects, among which are CCHfever (FP7), VHF Diagnostics (FP6), SONDE (BMBF), Mediator Probe Technology (DfG).

Role in the project: UMG will be responsible for the development of the nucleic acid assays and primer design for viral pathogens, and will participate in the clinical validation through established contacts in Africa.

University of Stirling (UoS), Institute of Aquaculture
United Kingdom

UMG participates from 09.2013 in place of UMG due to move of the PI

Manfred Weidmann; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Partner description: The University of Stirling (UoS) is a world-renowned centre of excellence for research and teaching in Aquaculture through the Institute of Aquaculture (IoA). The IoA at UoS is an EU designated Large Scale Facility and has evolved with the aquaculture industry and its research output contributes directly to improved fish survival and increased productivity. The UoS has all the necessary facilities to cover the work to be done during the project because its facilities enable it to research on viral and bacterial molecular detection methods. The research group undertaking the project is based at the IoA at UoS, which carries out research within four general themes, namely health and welfare, nutrition, sustainable aquaculture, and genetics and reproduction. The health and welfare group uses a range of dedicated and well equipped histology, pathology, immunology, microbiology, parasitology, (electron) microscopic (SEM, TEM), molecular biology, virology and Home Office licensed challenge laboratories.

Role in the project: After the PI of UMG has moved to UoS, the latter will still be responsible for the development of the nucleic acid assays and primer design for viral pathogens, and will participate in the clinical validation through established contacts in Africa.

Magnamedics Diagnostics BV (MMD)
The Netherlands

Sven Goethel; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Partner description: MagnaMedics Diagnostics BV (MMD) is a privately owned SME dedicated to the development, production and sales of magnetic beads used in various application areas such as in biochemical research and in vitro diagnostics. Because of its versatile platform for producing magnetic beads, MMD is particularly specialized in developing customized beads for special applications. In contrast to the beads of most competitors, the material of the magnetic core, the shell of the beads, their magnetic strength, size, and density, as well as the surface functionalization are parameters that can be varied widely by MMD. Standard catalog products include MagSi-proteomics reversed phase beads; ion exchange beads (MagSi-WAX, MagSi-WCX) for standard proteomics and protein purification; MagSi-STA (streptavidin-coated) for handling of biotinylated molecules and antibodies; MagSi-Protein A and G particles for isolation of IgG antibodies; MagSi-DNA and MagSi-DNA allround beads for binding and purifying nucleic acids. MMD also develops protocols for the isolation of proteins and nucleic acids to be used in ready-to-use-kits, e.g. for the purification of sequencing and PCR reactions, isolation of genomic DNA from blood, plants or bacteria. When incorporating MMD’s MagSi-DNase beads, which are coated with functional DNase, into a two-step isolation process, MMD is able to isolate bacterial DNA from human blood with minimum contamination of human DNA, thereby allowing the highest possible sensitivity and specificity of bacterial DNA detection. In case catalog beads do not fulfill customers’ specifications, MMD is able to customize beads for special needs, usually as a “MagCustom” project. One further specialty of MMD is the labeling of reagents and beads with fluorescent probes (MagSi-Fluor), among which MM-Dots. This labeling technology will also be used in this project for the development of sensitive fluorescent beads and other reagents for multiplex detection. MMD has a production facility, a chemical research lab, and a quality control lab with equipment for particle measurements and characterization; it has been involved in the EC project NanoBioPharmaceutics (FP6).

Role in the project: MMD will produce and develop functionalized magnetic beads and protocols for the isolation of nucleic acids and proteins. MMD will also be responsible for coupling or integration of fluorescent labels (Quantum Dots) in/on magnetic beads and other reagents as optical detection agents.

University Hospital Basel (UHBS)

Patrick Hunziker; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Georgette Beugelaar; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Partner description: The University Hospital Basel (UHBS) is one of Switzerland’s leading university medical centers. It offers treatment in all medical fields and consists of 52 entities. All the clinics are committed to practicing innovative medicine, while simultaneously being a clinical facility for teaching and research. There is a high standard of quality assurance. It offers the most up-to-date treatment methods for such varied diagnoses as “simple” cuts and fractures to severe brain injuries and complex cardiovascular problems. Today, UHBS acts as a teaching hospital for 1050 students of medicine and dentistry each year. Basel is known throughout the world as the home of leading international chemical and pharmaceutical industries, which greatly contribute to the field of life sciences. This has been very advantageous for UHBS, since it consistently promotes academic exchange and clinical consultation. The University Hospital Basel has worldwide reputation in the field of Nanomedicine. Basel is also the place of the Centre of Excellence Swiss Nanoscience Institute, famous for its Nanophysics oriented research. The clinical part of the work is done at the UHBS by the Nanomedicine Research Group, led by Prof. Patrick Hunziker, who was the pioneer to apply nanosciences to clinical medicine. Beyond the clinical involvement, the research group explores targeted nanostructured therapies to a broad variety of unsolved medical problems from cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases to cancer. In the field of orphan diseases, the focus is on malaria in cooperation with the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, world famous for its activities in public health with excellent contacts in Asia and Africa in the malaria-related countries. Ongoing projects are funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the CLINAM Foundation for Nanomedicine, the Swiss CTI funding as well as by industrial partners and startup companies. The approach of the group into solving scientific problems is very broad and is reflected in its composition, as it includes biologists, chemists, biochemists, M.D.s, and engineers/mathematicians.

Role in the project: UHBS will be responsible for the development of the protein assays for pathogen detection. In addition, it will perform the clinical validation at areas of need, i.e., local African rural dispensaries, where UHBS retains strong contacts.

European Foundation for Clinical Nanomedicine (CLINAM)

Beat Löffler; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Partner description: The European Foundation for Clinical Nanomedicine (CLINAM) is a non-profit institution aiming at advancing medicine to the benefit of individuals and society through the application of nanoscience in medicine. Aiming at prevention, diagnosis, and therapy through nanomedicine as well as at exploration of its implications, the Foundation reaches its goals through support of clinically focused research and through interaction and information flow between clinicians, researchers, the public, and other stakeholders. The recognition of the large future impact of nanoscience on medicine and the observed rapid advance of medical applications of nanoscience have been the main reasons for the creation of the Foundation. In the last five years, CLINAM has with great success realised the European Conference on Clinical Nanomedicine, where hundreds of participants from more than 30 countries have presented their achievements and networked with each other with great dissemination success. It is presently the largest Platform in Europe focusing on the clinical perspective of Nanomedicine. The network has been expanded in these years and the community counts on international level more than 1500 contacts. The European Society for Nanomedicine, initiated also five years ago by CLINAM, counts now more than 400 members from a total of 33 countries. CLINAM is involved in the field of dissemination and exploitation of nanomedical projects and has been specialized in the last years also to support national projects to become well concerted in their activities. Presently the research is focused on Cancer, Malaria and Atherosclerosis, under the lead of Prof. Patrick Hunziker who is co-founder and CSO of the CLINAM foundation and its network.  Prof. Dr. Reto Brun, a member of the CLINAM Advisory Board, represents the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute within CLINAM for Malaria and neglected diseases. Through these cooperations CLINAM has the capability to also use manifold support for testing the developed platform in Africa and Asia. CLINAM participates in the EC project NANOATHERO (FP7).

Role in the project: CLINAM will accomplish dissemination activities, and support the exploitation of project results through its networking activities throughout academia and industry. In addition, CLINAM will carry out the clinical translation to Africa.

Mast Group Ltd (MAST)
United Kingdom

Liz Gillies; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Partner description: MAST is an independent world class manufacturer and supplier of diagnostic products for clinical, industrial and veterinary testing. The parent company, Mast Group Ltd., has corporate headquarters in Bootle near Liverpool, UK. MAST also has subsidiary companies in Reinfeld, Germany (Mast Diagnostica GmbH) and Amiens, France (Mast Diagnostic). In addition, MAST has a long standing close association with Davies Diagnostics in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Manufacturing of the core range of microbiology products takes place in Bootle while other infectious disease and autoimmune diagnostics are produced in Reinfeld, using a variety of technologies. MAST offers its extensive product range through these subsidiary and associate companies plus a global network of distributors. It also supplies other quality diagnostic products from several internationally renowned manufacturers on a country-by-country basis. The company has been awarded research funding from bodies like the Technology Strategy Board (UK funding body) to aid isothermal nucleic acid technological developments in this field and enable MAST to compete in this up and coming market sector. In parallel MAST is developing significant infrastructure allowing it to upgrade its R&D and production capabilities at its UK facilities.

MAST Group has extensive experience on formatting and marketing molecular diagnostic products in the IVD and veterinary field. The partner plans to maximize this expertise by putting together a focused development team to streamline the process and ensure success.

Split between technical and commercial staff, the development team brings over 8 years of experience in molecular assay design, commercial production methodologies, intellectual property development and patent application.  With over 12 years international experience in working with molecular diagnostics in many different formats, the commercial team will contribute towards market focus and continuous monitoring to ensure that it remains state-of-the-art, applying regulatory affairs expertise and the ability to be successful in a very competitive market.

Role in the project: MAST will develop the bioassays of nucleic acid amplification (based on isothermal LAMP technology) for detection of bacterial pathogenic diseases. They will manufacture/supply kits for clinical validation study. MAST is also the responsible partner for exploitation and commercialization of the final prototype.