GERMANY- Endress+Hauser, a swiss-based laboratory and automation equipment supplier, have formed an alliance with Hahn-Schickard, a well-known research and development (R&D) provider in microsystem technology, to establish a facility aimed at enabling rapid, on-site molecular analyses for the detection of bacterial or viral contamination in water and beverages, genetic modifications in food or contaminated milk so as to heighten food safety.

The facility named Endress+Hauser BioSense GmbH will be based in Freiburg, Germany with Endress+Hauser being the majority shareholder (75 percent) and the remaining 25 percent being held by Hahn-Schickard.

The R&D service Hahn Schickard already has a close working relationship with the University of Freiburg’s Department of Microsystems Engineering where they have teamed up in the development of portable and rapid diagnostic test instrumentation for the determination of minute concentrations of infectious pathogens.

The joint venture is now aiming to transfer this technology from the field of medical diagnostics to industrial process and laboratory automation applications.

During the first few months, Endress+Hauser BioSense will operate in spaces located at the university and Hahn-Schickard. However, it will move into the university’s innovation center, FRIZ, currently under construction on the campus of the Faculty of Engineering, in the coming year. The start-up will thus expand Endress+Hauser’s activities in Freiburg, where developers are already working on new sensor technologies, biosensors and Industry 4.0 solutions.

In the development of equipment and methods for molecular analyses for process and laboratory environments, Endress+Hauser BioSense will be working closely with IST Innuscreen GmbH in Berlin, which is also part of the Endress+Hauser Group. IST Innuscreen offers a broad portfolio of nucleic acid isolation and molecular diagnostics products and among other things supplies kits and assays for PCR diagnostics.

The new company will be headed by Dr Nicholas Krohn, who has in-depth knowledge and experience in the field of food analysis. Dr Stefan Burger and Dr Martin Schulz, two long-time employees of Hahn-Schickard who obtained their doctorates in the field of molecular diagnostics at the University of Freiburg, will round out the management team.

With constant pressures faced by the food and beverage sector as international legislation demands higher and higher standards to ensure public safety, outcomes of the partnership are anticipated to be momentous for the industry.