Monthly Archives: May 2020

Baltimore County-based Company develops COVID-19 test to be used across Canada

Technology from InstantLabs is now being used to supply more than 500,000 COVID-19 tests per week to the government of Canada.

InstantLabs was founded in 2008 and is currently located in the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s (UMBC) bwtech@UMBC campus. InstantLabs’ original focus was on the development of point-of-care clinical diagnostic testing solutions. InstantLabs later expanded its focus to include the detection of problematic and pathogenic microorganisms in food processing and food packaging as well as in water system corrosion.

InstantLabs sought the help of Strategic Consulting, Inc. to identify strategic opportunities for growth of the company and the technology. As part of this process, SCI introduced InstantLabs to LuminUltra, an international diagnostic testing leader headquartered in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada who subsequently acquired the company in 2018.

This year, using the technology developed by InstantLabs, LuminUltra mobilized quickly to develop a test for COVID-19 to respond to a call from the Government of Canada for urgently needed COVID-19 tests. In April 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that LuminUltra had been selected to supply 500,000 tests per week (See the Prime Minister’s Announcement) – enough tests over the course of the contract to essentially provide a test for every Canadian.

InstantLabs is a fully-integrated part of the LuminUltra family – a group of companies that has operations in 6 countries and customers in more than 80 around the world. InstantLabs remains located at UMBC and their laboratory and operations at UMBC now serves as LuminUltra’s global R&D center and is the site at which the molecular testing capabilities for this COVID-19 response were developed. The solutions developed at their labs in Baltimore are also being used not only in Canada, but throughout the world as part of sanitation test and certification efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as buildings and businesses start to resume operations.

This response to COVID-19 has also expanded LuminUltra’s need for R&D space and additional manufacturing capacity. They have seen the benefits of being located in Maryland with the state’s focus on life science business and are looking at options near Maryland’s life science centers.