First Movers in Molecular Detection: Case Comparison on Harnessing Research and Development, Industry, and Entrepreneurship

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Front Med (Lausanne). 20 Mar 20; 8: 639440. doi: 10.3389 / fmed.2021.639440. eCollection 2021.

ABSTRACT

The current unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of diagnostic testing for health security readiness and readiness. The further development of new technologies for the rapid molecular detection of infectious pathogens with high consistency is a constant challenge that requires ingenuity and foresight. Maintaining a robust supply chain for materials and the logistics of on-time product delivery continue to challenge manufacturers of diagnostic kits and devices. Economists often characterize technology companies that discover unique breakthroughs in their field and are the first to bring related products to market. From a market perspective, three first mover traits include: the knowledge and ability to tackle a unique breakthrough, excellent technology leadership, and the ability to seize the opportunity. Current mainstays for molecular detection include the use of Taq DNA polymerase enzyme and fluorescent chemistry for quantitative PCR (qPCR). A newer and promising technology uses CRISPR-Cas proteins for the detection of nucleic acids. In our panel discussion at the ASM Biothreats Conference 2020, which was attended by members of two prototypical first mover companies, their respective company experiences were examined. Both companies were selected for discussion because of their revolutionary innovations and similarities in research and development, corporate culture and development. A company founded over 20 years ago led the biothreat detection market by advancing air thermocycling qPCR across multiple product families. The second company is a fast-growing start-up and a scientific pioneer in establishing next-generation CRISPR technologies. Here we discuss their technology development, product delivery, and customer markets to draw lessons for researchers, end users, and funders.

PMID: 33842501 | PMC: PMC8026858 | DOI: 10.3389 / fmed.2021.639440

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