Government backs LBT Innovations APAS medical equipment

Microbiology diagnostic equipment manufacturer LBT Innovations has been awarded $1.5 million in federal government funding to support further development of the company’s APAS Independence laboratory instrument (pictured).

The funding from the Medical Future Fund through MTPConnect’s clinical translation and commercialisation medtech programme will support development of a new, smaller benchtop version of the APAS instrument, the APAS Compact.

LBT’s APAS is an artificial intelligence (AI) based digital technology for automated imaging of medical culture plates used to diagnose infection.

And the APAS Independence is an imaging, interpretation, sorting and reporting machine that automatically examines culture plates for the presence of bacterial colonies.

However the APAS Independence laboratory instrument is two metres long, with the APAS Compact aimed at the needs of small and medium sized diagnostic test laboratories.

LBT managing director Brent Barnes said: “There remains a significant opportunity to disrupt microbiology and introduce automation at scale to optimise the culture plate workflow.

“This…funding accelerates delivery of a key component of the company’s product pipeline strategy by adding a smaller, low-cost APAS instrument that means we are able to offer digital microbiology solutions that meet the needs of all laboratories globally.”

Microbial laboratories especially in the United States are facing skilled staff shortages, with smaller laboratories not well serviced by automation system offerings.

According to the company: “The planned development of the APAS Compact will leverage the company’s core intellectual property by re-using the existing imaging analysis hardware and software from the APAS Independence.

“This approach has the benefit of de-risking the overall project while also minimising development costs.”

The project to develop the APAS Compact will be phased, with the first phase focused on market research to validate product requirements, project costs and test the strength of the business case.

Picture: LBT Innovations/APAS Independence installation at Halo, London

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