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Date: June 16, 2016

Developing and Commercializing Affordable and Practical Point-of-Care Molecular Diagnostic Testing Solutions

Aquila Diagnostic Systems Inc., an Edmonton, Alberta–based biotech company with an innovative point-of-care molecular (DNA/RNA) diagnostic solution, announced today the closing of a $1.75 million Series A financing round with Benslie International Ltd. 

“We are honored to have received financing from Benslie International,” commented Brent James, Aquila’s CEO. “Benslie has made several investments in the medical and biotechnology sectors. They quickly understood the value of our patented hydrogel technology and saw how we can leverage this technology to rapidly develop and deploy point-of-care molecular diagnostic testing solutions on a variety of third-party diagnostic instruments.”

Point-of-care diagnostics offers significant cost and time savings in comparison to central or remote laboratory testing. Aquila’s diagnostic solution involves a real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) diagnostic platform that allows low cost rapid testing and provides accurate and reproducible results.

“Our hydrogel provides a gold standard molecular diagnostic test,” adds James, “and having test results at the point-of-care eliminates the cost and inconvenience of waiting days or even weeks for laboratory results to be returned.” Quicker and more accurate testing permits more timely and effective treatment.

Aquila’s patented hydrogel technology has been proven in the field, successfully diagnosing malaria in some of the most demanding environments on the planet. Clinical results validating the technology's robust performance have been published and cited in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals.

“We have worked with Aquila since 2009, assisting with the creation and structuring of the company,” stated Chris Lumb, CEO of TEC Edmonton. "Since then, we have facilitated access to intellectual property services and research expertise at the University of Alberta to develop its technology. Aquila’s ability to achieve such a significant milestone speaks to the growing momentum to move health initiatives forward in our region."

With the funding from Benslie, Aquila will accelerate development of their patented molecular diagnostic testing solutions in the animal health market. Aquila will aim first at applications such as the detection of salmonella in poultry production and, within a veterinarian context, of canine diseases such as fecal parasites including tape worms and round worms. The funds will also enable Aquila to seek out licensing and joint-venture opportunities.

"The benefits of having accurate diagnostic test results at the point-of-care are significant. We are very encouraged by the technology and approach Aquila have to serve the animal health market as well as the opportunity to engage with strategic partners for the human diagnostic markets. Aquila has an experienced and proven management team, a proven technology, and an opportunity to make a difference,” observed Nicolas Weinstein, managing partner at Benslie.

About Benslie International Ltd.

Benslie International Ltd. is led by Mr. Alejandro Weinstein Manieu. Mr. Weinstein has extensive industry experience. He transformed a local Chilean pharmaceutical company, CFR Pharmaceuticals, into a global pharmaceutical powerhouse, eventually selling it in 2014. Mr. Weinstein has served as a board member for various pharmaceutical companies in Latin America, Europe, and South East Asia, and of several social initiatives such as Educa UC, Fundación Genómika, and Consorcio Tecnologico en Biomedicina.

About Aquila Diagnostic Systems Inc.

Aquila is an Edmonton, Alberta based bio-technology company. Delays in diagnostic test results can result in significant health or economic “pain” – treatment is delayed and the repercussions can be costly. Point-of-care molecular diagnostic testing, particularly for the veterinary market, is underserved. Aquila’s Accutas diagnostic system  has an ideal solution for animal health, both in food production applications, such as poultry, and for companion animals.

For more information on Aquila please visit 

Aquila Contact: Mr. Brent James, CEO

Email :  



Aquila Diagnostics Selected to Present at 2015 Ag Innovation Showcase

11 September, 2015

Aquila Diagnostic Systems Inc. is pleased to announce that it has been selected to present at the 2015 Ag Innovation Showcase, which will take place Sept. 14-16th in St. Louis, Missouri at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. Aquila, selected by a committee of industry leaders, is one of 20 companies chosen from more than 90 applicants to present at this year’s event.

Aquila is launching a point of care molecular diagnostic testing system for the veterinary and livestock sector. Aquila’s patented hydrogel PCR system offers fast, low cost testing for multiple disease targets.

The Ag Innovation Showcase is the world’s premier event focusing on the convergence of agriculture and technology. Established in 2009, the international forum brings together those with a significant stake in agriculture and agricultural technology – innovators, researchers, government agencies, corporations, investors and others – to promote investment in and the development of cutting-edge technology and biotechnology that will productively and sustainably meet the world’s growing food supply needs. The Ag Innovation Showcase is a joint effort of the Bio Research & Development Growth (BRDG) Park and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, both located in St. Louis, MO, and Los Angeles-based Larta Institute.

Click here to learn more about the Ag Innovation Showcase.


For more information

Aquila Contacts: Mr. Brent James, CEO

                           Mr. David Alton, COO.



July 28, 2015 — Edmonton, Alberta — Aquila Diagnostics Inc. today announced its participation in a project with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative to improve testing for malaria infectiousness.

Working closely with Dr. Stephanie Yanow of the University of Alberta and researchers at Radboud University Medical Centre in Holland and Harvard University, Aquila is providing its Accutas™ portable diagnostic system to rapidly detect genetic markers in blood samples in the field to help curb the transmission of malaria.

This project, funded by the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, began earlier this year and will continue into early 2016 with a budget allocation of $60,000 USD for Aquila.

The project’s goal is to identify genes in the malaria parasite that control the ability of the parasite to be transmitted from humans to mosquitoes. Tests will then be designed to detect these genes in the parasites from infected individuals.

Using new, faster diagnostic tools developed for the Accutas™, researchers can quickly determine how easily an individual’s infection can be transmitted by mosquitoes. These diagnostics will support new control strategies to block transmission and help slow down the spread of malaria.

Every year across the globe over a million deaths are caused by malaria. Despite a decline in malaria in certain regions, new diagnostic tools and tests are urgently required. The Accutas™ will be integral in the global challenge to eradicate malaria.


About Aquila and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative

Aquila Diagnostic Systems Inc. is a privately held Canadian company commercializing its innovative Accutas solution for a point-of-care molecular (DNA/RNA) diagnostic testing system. The Accutas provides low cost, laboratory quality diagnostics at the point-of-care, eliminating cost and the inconvenience of waiting days or weeks for laboratory results and speeding up treatment and improving care. Aquila is preparing to enter large markets for veterinary and tropical fever diagnostics.

The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) is a global program of the international nonprofit organization PATH. MVI was established in 1999 through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Aquila Contact:                                                                                                                                                                             Phone: 780-965-5430                                                                                                                                                                     Email:



Aquila Diagnostic Systems Unveils New Accutas™ Lab-On-A-Chip

Portable, Rapid, Low-Cost Malaria Detection Kit
Achieves Superior Results To Current Malaria Testing Systems

March 13, 2014 – Edmonton, AB, Canada – With a favourable assessment from the Geneva-based Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), Edmonton, Alberta’s Aquila Diagnostic Systems has achieved an important milestone in the development of their point-of-care Accutas™ lab-on-a-chip malaria detection kit.

“Although this new technology is still in development and further evaluation of the suitability of its use in endemic disease settings is needed, it opens up the possibility of using a simple and highly sensitive molecular test at the point-of-care for the diagnosis of malaria and other blood-borne infections,” stated FIND’s Chief Scientific Officer Mark Perkins.

FIND, an international and independent non-profit organization located in Geneva Switzerland, is devoted to developing and implementing affordable, easy to use and cutting-edge diagnostic technologies for diseases of poverty. Its study showed Aquila’s Accutas™ diagnostic system achieved results superior to current malaria testing systems.

Causing one million deaths a year, malaria has been identified by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as one of the world’s top four health challenges. The accurate and sensitive detection of the malaria parasite is a critical part of the fight to eliminate the disease.

Aquila’s portable Accutas™ system delivers rapid, low-cost test results using a disposable plastic cartridge to detect blood born pathogens. Aquila’s genetic detection technology is protected and under license from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Aquila works closely with malaria expert and researcher Dr. Stephanie Yanow of the Provincial Laboratory for Public Health and the University of Alberta. “The Accutas™ will empower communities in Africa and elsewhere to rapidly diagnose malaria and provide immediate treatment,” says Dr. Yanow. “Accutas™ could save the lives of hundreds of thousands of children who die from malaria every year.”

Aquila Chief Technology Officer Dr. Jason Acker sees enormous value for the Accutas™ disposable cartridge and instrumentation in supporting the global efforts to develop malaria vaccines and helping in the battle to eradiate malaria around the world. 


Chute Side Diagnostics Promise Quicker Detection, Improved Animal Disease Management

June 17, 2013 – Edmonton, Alberta – Disease prevention and management is a top priority in Alberta’s feedlots. Three infectious organisms in particular – Histophilus somni (H. somni), Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) and bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) – account for a large amount of feedlot diseases. Early detection is essential for the successful treatment of sick animals and the overall management strategy to prevent disease from spreading and affecting other animals. In partnership with the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA), Aquila Diagnostics Systems Inc. is working with the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) to create a low cost, chute side test that allows feedlot veterinarians and producers to detect these three diseases in the early stages.

Dr. Jason Acker, Aquila’s Chief Technology Officer, said: “When we are building a new diagnostic, we want to make sure it has the greatest potential impact for our customers, so we’re focusing on the top diseases in the cattle industry. If veterinarians and livestock producers can check for multiple pathogens in a single test on the farm or at the chute side, they can begin disease specific treatments and management strategies. Early detection of infectious diseases hopefully will improve health outcomes for the infected animal and the herd as a whole.”

The target diseases for the new diagnostic are notable for their prevalence and high economic cost to feedlot producers. H. somni causes a blood infection that is the leading cause of death in fall placed feedlot calves in Alberta. M. bovis causes a host of problems in infected animals, including chronic pneumonia, ear infections, mastitis and arthritis. BVDV can result in abortions, stillbirths, congenital defects and ongoing complications because of persistent infection. A single BVDV carrier can infect many animals, resulting in ongoing calving losses for a prolonged period of time. As well, persistently infected animals in a feedlot can infect other animals, thereby causing increased disease rates. With an efficient and affordable test, feedlot veterinarians will be able to develop better control strategies for these infectious diseases and help their clients reduce disease and production losses.

Aquila’s prototypes will be evaluated in field conditions to ensure the test is effective in every day conditions. Veterinarian Dr. Joyce Van Donkersgoed and Cor Van Raay Farms Ltd. in Southern Alberta are participating in the field test. Dr. Van Donkersgoed, said: “Time is the most important factor when an animal gets sick. If we get the right treatment at the right time, we can reduce the long-term impact of the disease and protect the herd with disease specific vaccines or treatments. This saves us from substantial herd losses or reduced growth due to illness, but it also cuts down on money spent treating animals without knowing what specific disease they have.”

Dr. Susan Novak, ALMA’s Research Manager, sees the Aquila diagnostic project as new support for ALMA’s One Health vision. “By putting this technology in the hands of feedlot veterinarians and feedlot producers, we’re making feedlots more sustainable by reducing the economic risk that sick cattle represent. Through that, we’re also improving the outcomes and animal welfare for all the cattle in a herd. Finally, we are reducing the use of antibiotics in the food chain, fulfilling part of the social contract industry has with the public to raise livestock in a way that doesn’t harm the larger ecosystem.”

To learn more about ALMA’s approach to food safety, and human, animal and ecosystem health, read “One Health Roadmap: A New View” or visit 


4-034 National Institute for Nanotechnology, 11421 Saskatchewan Drive, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada   T6G 2M9

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