Team:Lethbridge Entrepreneurs


South Venture Bio FMA Synbiologica Team Chinook Entrepreneur Challenge Synbiologica Logo


Currently, hormone detection methods are costly and time consuming. It can take many days to collect, store, test and analyze a sample. For example, the commonly used Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) kit can cost $500-$1100 per 96-well plate. Each test performed using this kit is usually done in triplicate. Costs for lab technicians, supporting equipment and storage also add to these costs and hormone researchers may spend tens of thousands of dollars for these tests. Hormones in a sample may also degrade before they can be appropriately processed, which may lead to inaccurate results.

The Lethbridge Entrepreneurial iGEM team is in the process of developing a method of detecting hormones using the concepts of synthetic biology. Our system is designed to detect hormones without extensive sample preparation, eliminating long waits for lab results. Eventually, we hope to expand on this and develop a real time assay. This will allow researchers and medical practitioners to observe fluctuations in hormone levels in real time, obtaining more critical information about hormones and their physiological effects. Our assay will also be modular, allowing the user to monitor multiple hormones with the same system. We are actively working on the research and development of our idea. With the help of the University of Lethbridge Industry Liaison Office and Office of Research Services, we are also in the initial stages of patenting our method.

In order to achieve our goal, the Lethbridge Entrepreneurial team has incorporated the company Synbiologica Ltd. We have developed a business plan around our idea. We have since participated in the South Venture Business Plan Competition (University of Lethbridge) and the Chinook Entrepreneur Challenge (Community Futures Lethbridge). We received first place in both of these competitions. We also participated in the TEC Edmonton Business Plan Competition and though we did not win, we received extremely valuable feedback. Our team has also attended local business development workshops and conferences and we will be attending the MEDICA Conference in Dusseldorf, Germany, this November.

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