Project: Development of protein biochips for diagnosing infectious diseases in veterinary practice.

Due to some particular features, veterinary diagnostics for commercial breeding operations is completely different from diagnostics in human medicine. For one thing, it concerns several species (swine, cattle, small ruminants, poultry, and fish). For another thing, it is often applied to a very large number of individuals tackled singly or in groups (mixtures of samples, pooled milk). The individual cost of the test and its reliability are the criteria cited most often by the people involved in this sector of activity, i.e., breeders, veterinarians, laboratories, and health authorities._x000D_Since collecting the samples (sera, blood, organs, faecal material, whole corpses in certain cases, etc.) and getting them to the laboratory account for major proportions of the overall price of the test paid by the animals' owners or, in some cases, the national health authorities, being able to test the same sample for a large number of valences (multiplexing) with only a small rise in the test's overall cost would be a substantial step forward for the thousands of Europeans who are involved directly or indirectly in raising animals for profit._x000D__x000D_InnoBioChips is a spin-off of the Institut de Biologie de Lille, in France, which is specialised in the development and production of peptide and protein biochips._x000D_Bio-X Diagnostics is a Belgian limited liability company (SPRL) that manufactures and sells diagnostic tests for the commercial livestock veterinary market (ELISA tests, immunofluorescence reagents, and strip immunochromatography systems)._x000D_Sensovation is focused on the development and production of intelligent, innovative sensing - and detection systems based on CCD or CMOS technology. Its experience lies COly in instruments for biotechnology applications where large amounts of data are produced. The technology used in biotechnology instruments, however, is also applicable to other requirements._x000D_Sensovation’s forward-looking concept of "intelligent sensing" extends far beyond the typical detection systems of today: It is the way of optimizing processes in real-time, during analysis._x000D_BioXpr is a company providing expert services and software in the field of Bioinformatics, and specifically in Genomics (DNA array analysis, hypersequencing analysis, oligonucleotides prediction,...), Metabolomics (Network modeling, database inference,...) and Proteomics (Protein modeling, Mass spectrometry analysis,...),_x000D__x000D_The consortium formed by these four European SMEs wishes to promote the use of protein biochips on the veterinary market to diagnose respiratory infections in commercial livestock. One of our consortium’s unique strengths is the development of biochips in the conventional 96-well microplate format. The consortium will deposit between 5 and 20 biological ligands (antigens or antibodies) in each of these wells. The consortium intends to develop and prepare a limited number of biochips so as to test the technical feasibility of these projects and their use in practice. We shall start by choosing simple models for which the consortium already has the necessary know-how and reagents, at least for ELISA._x000D__x000D_In this way, we plan in the first phase to develop a serological biochip for Salmonella (6 serotypes) and an antigen biochip for diagnosing the infectious agents causing scours (diarrhoeal disease) in calves (7 infectious agents). Bio-X Diagnostics will provide the purified antibodies and antigens, while InnoBioChips will prepare the biochips and test them with a laser biochip reader (fluorescent scanner) that it already has. In the second phase we plan to develop specific biochips for certain enzootic or epizootic diseases for swine and cattle, banking in particular on InnoBioChips’s expertise in producing and assessing peptides. We have chosen the pestiviruses (BVDV in cattle and swine fever virus (CSFV) in pigs) as our model. We chose these diseases, which are serious problems in Europe, because of the major commercial stakes involved._x000D__x000D_Sensovation, for its part, will be tasked with developing an affordable biochip reader for the veterinary market. We set ourselves a target price of €5,000, i.e., the price of an ELISA reader. For information, a laser reader currently costs some €100,000. That is incompatible with a very wide-scale use of biochip technology in veterinary medicine. Sensovation will also be responsible for developing software that can analyse a large number of information (20 spots x 96 wells x the marker intensity per spot) and present the results in a format that laboratory technicians can understand.

Acronym VETOCHIPS (Reference Number: 4658)
Duration 01/09/2009 - 30/04/2012
Project Topic Our aim is to improve diagnostic tests for veterinary laboratories by means of biochip technology. These biochips make it possible to multiplex diagnostic serotests and antigen determinations. The development of a low-cost biochip reader is crucial.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
The aim of the project was to develop protein biochips to facilitate the diagnosis of certain infectious diseases in production animals (diarrhoea in calves, Salmonella infections, BVDV, and classic swine fever). It also included developing a cheap biochip reader and software for analysing the results._x000D_The antibody spotting conditions in the 96-well microplates were mastered at the end of the project. However, we are not yet happy with the spots’ reproducibility and intend to purchase a new microarrayer that uses piezo technology to improve the results. _x000D_The cheap biochip reader is operational and giving the expected results. The software to analyse the results is still in development._x000D__x000D_
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 2

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
4 Sensovation AG Partner Germany
4 InnoBioChips SARL Coordinator France
4 Bioxpr Observer Belgium
4 Bio-X Diagnostics Partner Belgium