Unique test gives Geneius a boost
NEWCASTLE University spin-out Geneius hopes to more than double its workforce in the next two years after receiving clearance to bring a unique method of testing food to the UK market.
The three-year-old company currently offers a range of tests to food manufacturers and stores to check for the presence of harmful contamination.
However it has recently been granted permission by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service to roll out a unique new approach which involves identifying microbes by their DNA, rather than analysis of elements such as their shape and colour.
Geneius was set up by Biofresh founders Professor Jerry Barnes and Dr Ian Singleton in a bid to improve reliability and decrease the length of the testing process.
Chairman Harry Smart said the company hoped to take staff up from 20 to 50 in the next two years, and the company’s development has also been boosted by £400,000 of investment from a consortium including Northstar Ventures and the founders of Innocent Drinks.
Smart said: “Everyone who processes or manufactures food or drink has a legal obligation to demonstrate it is suitable for consumption, and the big grocery stores sometimes demand even further tests. There’s a big industry throughout the country of people testing for things like salmonella.
“We started three years ago to do this sort of work, but we’ve also developed a unique process that no one else is doing. The normal process is to culture the microbes in a petri dish and then look at their shape and colour. We can extract the DNA of the microbes themselves.”