Rapid and accurate testing the key to a return to normalcy

And here are three companies working on it.

Imagine a global pandemic caused by a new virus. Apparently it has been around for 6, 8 or 10 months and may or may not have come from China (depending on which expert is talking on any given day).

The symptoms are multiple (and variable and inconsistent between infected people, or so it seems) and the test for it is a long nasal swab inserted into your body that is uncomfortable at best but usually quite painful.

Then imagine that the test results (none of which may be accurate) take 2-6 days and may come back as:

  • Positive
  • Negative
  • False Positive
  • False Negative

Oh, and apparently, there is also a blood test for antibodies which would tell you if you had the virus… but actually there are many (unreliable) blood tests that may produce the same range of four results as above.

Exhausted yet? We all are, as the current pandemic has set the world on its ear, crippled the global economy and created an undeniable environment of fear.

However, there are glimmers of hope for accurate testing which would allow the world to get back to an almost pre-virus life. Instead of waiting days for suspect results, companies are focusing on technology using quick, accurate, inexpensive and technologically proven procedures that do not require highly trained staff or expensive equipment.

Three Canadian public companies are at the forefront of developing these new, non-invasive, technology driven coronavirus tests that will be accurate, eliminate (mostly) the need for that sketchy nasal swab, and provide nearly instant, accurate results.

Sixth Wave Innovations Inc. (CSE: SIXW | OTCQB: ATURF)

The newest entrant in the public markets, Sixth Wave began trading in February 2020 after a previous merger with another public company and subsequent financings, etc.  Current market capitalization is approximately C$26 million.

Sixth Wave is a development stage nanotechnology company with patented technologies that focus on extraction and detection of target substances at the molecular level using highly specialized Accelerated Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (AMIPs). Since every substance has a unique size, shape and chemical properties, these attributes can be utilized at the individual molecule level to create highly efficient adsorption/detection media to solve problems that cannot be solved with conventional means.

What does this mean? In simple terms, they can detect anything at the molecular level and this technology has already been successfully deployed in both the cannabis and gold mining industries. In practical terms, by using AMIPs, Six Wave’s technology could be used to detect COVID-19 in airborne, water and wastewater environments. Further, successful development of their technology could also be rolled out to provide accurate, almost immediate testing for the coronavirus in individuals.

Sixth Wave (along with its partners) recently received approval from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to advance virus detection technology testing using AMIP. Successful testing could optimistically be completed before year-end with an available product possible for market in early 2021. A publicly available product could be as simple as a face mask that changes colour if positive for COVID-19.

Sona Nanotech Inc. (CSE: SONA | OTCQB: SNANF)

Sona Nanotech is a well-established public company whose technology development of gold nanorods started back in 2013. The company went public in 2018 and has a current market capitalization of approximately C$677 million, although this has jumped dramatically since February 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gold nanorods have multiple uses, but the potential for providing near-instant results has very much excited the market. Using lateral flow assay technology testing (comparable to a home pregnancy test), a positive or negative test for coronavirus can be determined without the need for specialist lab equipment or operators. In April 2020, Sona tested a working prototype of the test in a hospital laboratory environment with live, COVID-19 patient samples, achieving positive results. Further testing is underway and of course government approvals will be required

The company’s analytical test still requires the dreaded nasal swab for the evaluation source material, but results should be more accurate and available in minutes.

XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY | OTC: XPHYF | FSE: 4XT)

Originally created for the cannabis industry, Xphyto Therapeutics has subsidiaries in Alberta and in Germany. Established in late 2017, the company went public in mid-2019 and has a current market capitalization of approximately C$190 million. The company had a strong share price prior to the coronavirus pandemic due to its other products, but application of related technology has caught the market’s attention.

Since starting in the cannabis space, the company has branched out in Germany with strategic acquisitions/development agreements in diagnostics and therapeutic films. In part due to the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, the company first initiated an infectious diseases program in February 2020 which was directly transferable to developing a low-cost, “real time” oral pathogen screening platform for COVID-19 in March 2020. By July, the company had confirmed successful function of its proprietary COVID-19 RNA probes and its universal coronavirus RNA probes in prototype lateral flow assay testing. Visual confirmation of test results was observed in five to seven minutes.

Short of an actual vaccine, rapid and accurate testing continues to be the Holy Grail in the world-wide response to COVID-19 and the key to a return to economic and social normalcy. These are among the companies to watch with innovative testing technologies.




A revolutionary nano-particle delivery system for cannabis provides a Star Trek moment

NanoSphere Health Sciences Inc. (CSE: NSHS) (“NanoSphere”) is a nano-biotechnology company based in Greenwood Village, Colorado, USA. NanoSphere is a company paving the way in the development of innovative delivery systems for cannabinoids, medications, nutrients, and animal health. The Company provides the only patented nano-particle delivery system to transport the highest level of therapeutic agents directly to the bloodstream for maximum absorbency.

Evolve Formulas – Transdermal NanoSerum

NanoSphere’s Evolve Formulas is the provider of the world’s first and only scientifically proven nano-particle delivery system for cannabis. Evolve’s pioneering product, Transdermal NanoSerum™, is a fast-acting, ultra-strength transdermal formula infused with nano-encapsulated cannabis and cannabis extracts. NanoSphere’s delivery system makes particles easy to absorb and completely bypasses the gastrointestinal tract and respiratory system. Only 6% of edible cannabis and 20% smoking cannabis enters the body.

Nanosphere Evolve product

NanoSerum™ immediately penetrates the skin to deliver direct-focused results and intelligently carries a full spectrum of cannabinoids and phytochemicals to receptors throughout the body for systemic healing.

Now I am thinking, I have seen this on an episode of Star Trek. In the world of Star Trek, there’s no need for needles as the Doctor administers medicine through the skin using a painless jet-injected hypo-spray. Considering this is a TV series from the 1960s, several futuristic ideas are already commercially viable on today’s market – The cell phone (Flip Phone), laptops and tablet computers, 3D printers (replicators, still waiting for the food version though), large screen TVs and much more.

The comparison on the left is Nanosphere’s Evolve product and on the right is Star Trek’s hypo-spray

NanoSpehere is winning technology innovation awards

In recognition of the innovative and disruptive work the company is doing, NanoSphere has been recognized with a nomination from the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) for the Excellence in Technology award in infused products and extraction. The award is granted to a company that has developed a new technology that will have a lasting effect on the industry. NanoSphere Chief Science Officer Dr. Richard Kaufman said: “It comes as no surprise to us that our technology is being recognized for its market disruption. We are proud of our achievements so far in the nano-particle delivery space and look forward to advancing our technology with new applications and new markets.” This delivery platform, was also recently awarded the Frost and Sullivan 2018 Best Practices Award for Technological Innovation.

Cannabis marijuana leaf

In recent news (July 31, 2018), NanoSphere announced they had entered into a partnership with Delta 9 Cannabis INC to bring products from its cannabis brand, Evolve Formulas, into the Canadian market. Delta 9 shares NanoSphere’s vision for bringing innovative and reliable products to market for recreational and medical consumers alike in the only G7 nation that has legalized cannabis for both purposes. Under the agreement, Delta 9 and NanoSphere will each receive 50 percent of the net revenue from sale of Evolve Formulas products. The initial term of the agreement is 36 months following the date of the first commercial sale of licensed products. Delta 9 is a licensed producer of marijuana and operates an 80,000 square foot production facility in Winnipeg, Canada.

NanoSphere Health Sciences Inc. has a market cap of C$ 42 m. The Company is only just now starting commercial sales of their products, so revenue figures will start to follow soon.

How many of today’s innovators have been inspired by the Star Trek TV show. This technology has the potential to change the way medicine is delivered efficiently to the body. It will have needle phobia people and parents dancing in the street. The potential for the Company to expand into new markets is enormous. So for now investors can look to buy some shares in NanoSphere, watch some more Star Trek shows, and keep a close eye on the progress of NanoSphere.