Live from BIO 2011: Polybatics looks to improve diagnostics through beads

FierceMedicalDevices caught up with New Zealand-based PolyBatics' CEO Tracy Thompson at the BIO International Convention in Washington, D.C. The company, which was started in 2009, has engineered a single-step process for producing customizable, biodegradable polymer beads for use in areas from industrial biotechnology to health sciences.

PolyBatics' technology uses the power of cells to create protein-dense bioplastic particles whose usefulness in bioseparations, biocatalysis, diagnostics and vaccines. Thompson emphasized that his business creates the beads inexpensively, and the process is green and sustainable. Thompson also told FMD the company is open to collaborations, especially with the academic community. He added that one group is using the beads as a test for Alzheimer's, and PATH is using them as a malaria diagnostic for people living in the developing world.

Before joining PolyBatics, Thompson was involved seven start-ups, including LifeScan, which was sold to Johnson & Johnson, BioTrak, which was sold to Roche and Cholestech, which was recently bought by Inverness Medical. He also has held positions at Agilent Technologies and Affymetrix.

Back in 2009, Thompson said his company could be worth $100 million "easily" within five to seven years through this technology, the National Business Review reported at the time. PolyBatics has received two rounds of angel funding since its founding.

- check out this 2010 profile of Thompson