Dwight Egan is the CEO and Co-Founder of Co-Diagnostics Inc. His prior experience in directing a public company and working with capital markets gives him valuable experience in advising the board on matters of finance and operations, and in overseeing the direction of the company.
What is PCR and how does it work?
PCR (polymerase chain reaction, real-time PCR, or qPCR) is a molecular diagnostic testing technique of identifying whether certain DNA or RNA (e.g. of a cancer gene, a bacteria or virus in humans, animals, or in the food distribution supply chain, or specific attributes of a seed variety in agriculture) is present in a given sample. It is one of the premier methods of disease detection on the molecular level, with higher degrees of accuracy than using a microscope to determine if certain bacteria are present, and considerably faster than the days or weeks it takes to grow a culture to determine if someone has a disease.
The technique uses laboratory devices known as “thermocyclers” to amplify—or make exponentially more copies of—the genetic material through a series of heating and cooling cycles, which copies are identified by the thermocycler. If amplification is detected (a positive result), that means the bacteria, virus, or cancer gene in question was present in the sample. If the result is negative, that means the target sequence was not present.
What other forms of technology do you use at Co-Diagnostics Inc.?
All of our technology is focused on enhancing PCR technology through the application of either more efficient, proprietary R&D processes, or patented molecular diagnostics technology to increase the accuracy of PCR assays. We own all the technology on which our PCR products are designed, including the CoPrimer™ platform.
How has recent innovation improved the detection of diseases and life sciences research?
The molecular diagnostics market as a whole has seen incredible growth over the last several years, and has been projected to exceed $12.5 billion over the next 5 years. With that growth has come interest from enterprise and non-profit participants alike, which interest has in turn spurred developments in many different applications of PCR testing technology. This market includes infectious disease detection, cancer detection, genetic sequencing and others—all areas where we believe our technology brings further value and innovation.
How do you attain a quality service while remaining a low-cost leader of molecular diagnostics?
We have an ISO 13485:2016-certified quality management system, which includes robust pre- and post-market surveillance/feedback procedures designed to ensure our product development happens in lockstep with market demand, and that customer feedback directly informs that development. And owning all the technology on which our PCR products are designed allows for more affordable testing, research, and design solutions using unique, cutting-edge and patent-protected products for the molecular diagnostics market.
What developments might we see in the future of molecular diagnostics? Is there anything you hope for?
Using molecular diagnostics in liquid biopsy for cancer detection has the potential to improve cancer diagnoses—and therefore treatment—for untold numbers of cancer patients, and we hope that our technology and goal of being the low-cost leader of molecular diagnostics solutions will allow us to be on the vanguard of spreading this technology across the globe. But I believe that the field and applications of next-generation sequencing are set to explode in ways many people are only beginning to understand. This includes not only the possibility for NGS to improve the quality of life and well-being for people on an individual basis suffering from genetic disorders, but also as its use is extended to the AgBio industry to produce products that are more robust and offer healthier harvests, free of harmful mutations, to feed a world whose population is growing faster than ever.