B.C. biotech company applies for patents on Zika detection method

BioLytical Laboratories has previously developed processes for fast detection of HIV and Ebola viruses


Richmond-based medical tech company BioLytical Laboratories has filed two patent applications in the U.S. for its new Zika virus detection method.

“It is important to have innovative and relevant technologies at a state of readiness to enable a rapid response to emerging infectious disease like the Zika virus outbreak,” said Rick Galli, the company’s chief technical officer, in a press release.

BioLytical’s new Zika detection system is based on of the company’s HIV test, which detects the antibodies that a disease produces to determine the type of disease as well as roughly how long the person has been infected.

The Zika virus is not the only disease the new platform can discern, the company says. The detection method can also recognize other viruses from the same family including dengue, a disease prominent in some of the same South American locations as the Zika virus.

The first patent filed by the company relates to a method developed for detecting active or past infection. The Second patent is for a method to differentiate early stages of infection from later ones.

This is not the first time bioLytical Laboratories have responded to a disease that dominates the news cycle. In late 2014, the company developed a similar 60-second Ebola test. The company also has a contracting service in which it works with other medical professionals to adapt its platform to meet custom testing requirements for other diseases.

Stan Miele, BioLytical’s chief commercial officer, said in an interview that he was confident the patents would receive approval.

“This is new and novel,” Miele said. “As we look through all of this … with appropriate discussions with patent lawyers, we feel strongly about these applications. It’s something that we’re quite confident with.”