If you are suspected of being infected with coronavirus, you might be tested using technology rapidly developed, launched and supplied by Mobidiag. The company is an expert in diagnostic solutions for infectious diseases, and carefully protects their innovations and R&D investments. The best protection is achieved by combining patents, trade secrets, and trademarks.
Molecular diagnostics company Mobidiag gained the attention of the World with its agile response to the coronavirus pandemic. The company was able to provide healthcare professionals with easy-to-use, reliable and quick COVID-19 tests on a fast schedule. The company was able to act swiftly due to its extensive and long-term experience in the development of diagnostics assays and testing equipment for infectious diseases.
The company also made a strategic decision to ensure security of supply of the corona tests in their home markets.
“As the coronavirus was growing into a pandemic, we felt it was our duty to focus our resources on rapidly developing new, effective coronavirus tests for healthcare providers”, explains Tuomas Tenkanen, CEO of Mobidiag.
Already in April, Mobidiag had developed a reliable test to receive an emergency use authorization from the Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea for use in Finland. Soon after that, the company was also granted a European CE-marking. Now Mobidiag’s tests are routinely used in many of Europe’s leading laboratories. In Finland, Mobidiag’s test platforms are currently in use, for example, in HUSLAB (Helsinki University Hospital) and Mehiläinen laboratories.
“There is now a great demand around the world for coronavirus diagnostics as well as sampling devices such as sample tubes, and for reagents, which are chemical compounds required for testing. We have further increased our manufacturing capacity in all critical steps to meet the growing demand. We are pleased that we are able to offer such a comprehensive range of products for coronavirus diagnostics,” says Tuomas Tenkanen.
IPR assets protect investments and support growth
Mobidiag is currently growing fast and becoming a major player in its field in Europe. The company’s molecular diagnostic solutions can be widely utilised not only in the diagnosis of corona, but also in other infectious diseases and in the fight against antibiotic-resistant superbacteria.
Mobidiag’s innovative solutions for identifying pathogens are based on nucleic acid amplification. Test equipment solutions are interdisciplinary innovations, combining fields such as biochemistry, DNA microarray technology, bioinformatics, software, optics, and fluidics.
Since 2017, IPR cooperation with Kolster has focused more and more on the international protection of trademarks, as the company launched its current main products, the Amplidiag® and Novodiag® product families.
Product development for medical devices is a long process in which IPR assets are used to ensure the safety of investments. They also help convince investors of the company’s potential. More than 100 million euros has already been invested in the development of Mobidiag’s diagnostic solutions. In addition to private investors, major funders have been for example, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Business Finland.
In June 2020, Mobidiag received the second tranche of the EIB’s growth finance loan of 25 million euros granted in spring 2019. The company aims to use the funding to achieve significant growth and new business also outside Europe.
“The identification of pathogens by molecular diagnostics is the fastest growing field of diagnostics. The market is large, the current value being around 10 billion euros. Our strength is that we are able to provide tests that are fast and easy to use compared to traditional methods. They can also be easily and cost-effectively scaled to fit the needs of laboratories of all sizes,” says Tuomas Tenkanen, CEO of Mobidiag.
Mobidiag’s cartridge-based Novodiag® solution delivers a test result in about an hour. It is an easy-to-use solution for small test quantities that does not require extensive user training or highly trained laboratory personnel. The cartridges utilise advanced technologies, such as DNA microarrays.
Mobidiag’s Amplidiag® solution is suitable for large hospital laboratories and large batches of samples. It can be used to identify the microbe causing an infection in a few hours. Due to highly automated analytics, infectious samples do not need to be handled, which improves the safety of medical personnel.
Caring for the Mobidiag®, Amplidiag® and Novodiag® brand diamonds
The company’s international expansion already began nearly a decade ago, when Mobidiag merged with the French company Genewave. Two years ago, the company set up a joint venture with Autobio Diagnostics in China. International expansion has led the company to focus in the protection of the main brand Mobidiag® and the two product families Amplidiag® and Novodiag® in order to produce diamonds for the company’s trademark portfolio. In recent years, these diamond assets have been polished by Saija Sampio, the lawyer in charge of Mobidiag’s trademark portfolio, and Kolster’s IP lawyer.
“Having our own contact person and IP expert to ask for advice on a wide range of trademark related issues in various market areas has made cooperation easy for us. We particularly appreciate Kolster’s extensive experience and quick response time in tight schedules,” Saija Sampio says.
The future of Mobidiag is strongly built around the Amplidiag® and Novodiag® product families. The Amplidiag® test platform already covers 8 different laboratory tests for the identification of pathogens causing respiratory and gastrointestinal infections and their potential resistance to antibiotics. It is designed for large and medium-sized hospital laboratories and for large batches of samples. The Novodiag® product line currently includes 5 tests, and it is suitable for smaller sample quantities and rapid local testing.
IPR support is valuable when entering new markets – especially in China
For the time being, Mobidiag’s primary market is still in Europe, but protection has been extended to strategically important new markets, such as China and the United States. Sales are made both through the company’s own sales channels and through the distributor network, which also covers countries in the Middle East and Africa. In China, the sales are handled by the joint venture Automobi Molecular Diagnostics. The next direction is the United States.
“It’s great that Kolster has experience in trademark protection in markets that are new for us, especially China. Kolster’s experience of working in China has been very useful for us after we set up a joint venture there,” Sampio describes the best benefits of the cooperation.
Mobidiag operates in China through its joint venture, but by registering both the main brand and their product names as trademarks in China, they have wanted to ensure that the company’s IPR assets remain under their own control in all cases. Protection in China has been strengthened by also registering a trademark for the main brand in Chinese.
Challenges have also arisen on the Chinese market, as a local company attempted to register the company’s trademark in its own name in China for fraudulent gain.
“Kolster’s help was invaluable in rectifying the situation.”
Sampio says that she also appreciates Kolster’s expertise in the local practices and court rulings of different countries, which makes it possible to anticipate potential IPR risks.
“Especially this spring, with the coronavirus pandemic, it has been a nice addition that Kolster has organised webinars on current topics. I hope that they will continue!”
Solutions to global health problems
The coronavirus pandemic has caused the demand for diagnostic tests to skyrocket all over the World. Mobidiag’s position in this competitive situation is good, as the company possesses new generation molecular diagnostics technology that can help in solving global health problems.
“The diagnostic solutions currently available do not fully meet the needs of clinical laboratories and healthcare providers. Traditional culture methods are inexpensive, but they are also slow, laborious, and not always reliable. Further, many other available molecular diagnostics methods are complex and expensive to use. With our solutions, we are able to provide laboratories with molecular diagnostics for routine use at a reasonable cost,” CEO Tuomas Tenkanen sums up.
Mobidiag is also using this diagnostics technology to combat the spread of superbacteria and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Experts have predicted that, by 2050, 10 million people may die of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant microbes, which is more than the mortality rates of cancer and diabetes combined. According to the World Health Organization, AMR is one of the biggest and fastest growing health threats in the world.
“It is important that antibiotics are not prescribed in vain, and this means that the causative agent behind the infection and its possible antibiotic resistance must be ascertained. In this way, our diagnostics technology can help battle AMR,” Tenkanen says.
The company is also investing in some new innovations that can be used to quickly detect sepsis causing microbes and antibiotic resistances directly from patient´s blood sample.
“This kind of fast diagnostic is not currently available. This revolutionary product would bring great relief for both healthcare providers and individual patients, as it allows the correct treatment faster, which in turn leads to shorter hospital stays and reduced mortality,” Tuomas Tenkanen explains.