Kitchener biotech company acquires U of T lab-in-a-box startup LSK Technologies

Nicoya Lifesciences, a Kitchener, ON-based global innovator of digital proteomics solutions for diagnostics and biotherapeutic discovery, has announced the acquisition of LSK Technologies, a University of Toronto (U of T) startup that decentralizes laboratory testing with its high-throughput lab-in-a-box platform. 

The acquisition comes amid the latest wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections, which generated the need for versatile testing solutions to respond to rapidly evolving biological threats. 

Nicoya has continued to build upon its novel method of viral detection since receiving over $2 million in federal funding in 2021, incorporating its digital microfluidic (DMF) and nanoplasmonic biosensor technology into a portable device for rapid antigen testing. With the integration of LSK’s amplification technology and associated IP, Nicoya says it will further broaden the applicability of its platform across a variety of testing and diagnostic applications, while maintaining affordability and ease of use.

Source: Nicoya Lifesciences

LSK Technologies was among the wave of companies that pivoted to fighting the global pandemic, and was awarded $500,000 as part of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research grant, specifically for field testing with their device as a COVID-19 diagnostic tool.  Its core technology, initially for Zika virus detection, originated in a U of T lab in 2016, where co-founders Seray Çiçek and Yuxiu (Livia) Guo invented and field tested the technology with Keith Pardee, Canada Research Chair in Synthetic Biology in Human Health at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. With support from the Velocity incubator at the University of Waterloo, U of T incubators Health Innovation Hub (H2i) and UTEST, and international accelerator Y-Combinator, they successfully expanded the technology to conduct a wider range of viral detection tests.

The acquisition brings LSK’s lab-in-a-box testing platform into Nicoya’s portfolio of digital proteomics technology. Moreover, LSK’s team, including its co-founders, will join Nicoya to further develop Nicoya’s DMF-based testing platform with the integration of their proprietary bioassay. Moreover, Nicoya will continue to support LSK’s existing customers, and plan to offer LSK products under the Nicoya brand. With this acquisition, Nicoya says it is set to transform access and affordability of laboratory quality testing for a variety of applications, including point-of-need testing.

“This acquisition comes as a natural progression for both organizations as we simultaneously look to disrupt the molecular detection and diagnostics space with our next-generation technologies,” said Ryan Denomme, Nicoya’s chief executive officer and co-founder, in a press release. “Joining forces with LSK presents a game-changing opportunity to strengthen our foundation in point-of-need testing and vastly change the future of how we discover and test for diseases. We are excited to bring the team on board and combine our unique expertise to expand Nicoya’s technology portfolio.”

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Pragya Sehgal
Pragya Sehgal
Born and raised in the capital city of India - Delhi - bounded by the river Yamuna on the west, Pragya has climbed the Himalayas, and survived medical professional stream in high school without becoming a patient or a doctor. Pragya now makes her home in Canada with her husband - a digital/online marketing fanatic who also loves to prepare beautiful, healthy and delicious meals for her. When she isn’t working or writing around tech, she’s probably watching art films on Netflix, or wondering whether she should cut her hair short or not. Can be contacted at [email protected] or 647.695.3494.

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