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ZeptoMetrix leverages UB facilities for infectious disease testing, including for COVID-19

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Posted at 2:30 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 14:30:45-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Life sciences company ZeptoMetrix is leveraging resources at the University at Buffalo to develop new quality control products for infectious disease diagnostics, including for COVID-19.

The company is in partnership with UB’s Buffalo Institute for Genomics and Data Analytics.

ZeptoMetrix’s existing product lines include molecular controls that contain bacteria and viruses that have been altered to be non-infectious.

Through BIG, ZeptoMetrix has access to a high-tech instrumentation system in UB’s Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences known as a digital droplet PCR platform with an automated droplet generator.

This equipment can measure the number of viruses or bacteria present in the company’s controls, said Shawn Smith, president and CEO of ZeptoMetrix.

Smith said ZeptoMetrix is leveraging the equipment from UB to develop controls for COVID-19 testing that use whole, intact, inactivated viruses. Smith expects to launch these controls soon.

"The ability to quantitate virus concentration is an essential step in producing and testing these control products, which are essential to the infectious disease testing community,” he said.

As part of its collaboration with BIG, ZeptoMetrix - which has about 70 employees in Western New York - expects to create at least 13 new jobs in the region over five years. The company will also hire UB students as interns and engage in collaborative research with university scientists on topics that could include oncology diagnostics.