Automated manufacturing of HIV-testing equipment

Jan. 29, 2020
DRW turns to Bright Machines to increase production by 10x.

Bright Machines and Diagnostics for the Real World (DRW) announced Bright Machines will automate the production of DRW’s SAMBA diagnostic platform, enabling them to scale manufacturing and better meet the demands of their rapidly expanding user-base.

DRW will now use a Bright Machines’ Microfactory to automate the California-based manufacturing of the complex test cartridges used in the company’s SAMBA II diagnostics device, freeing their team from repetitive, labor-intensive assembly and inspection tasks while increasing output of these care-critical cartridges by 10x, to more than 1 million units a year, according to the partners.

Diagnostics for the Real World’s Samba II diagnostic device.

DRW promises rapid and reliable tests for infectious diseases, such as HIV, specifically designed for use in resource-limited environments. Developed at the Diagnostics Development Unit at the University of Cambridge, this diagnostic tools enable healthcare workers in remote regions of the world to quickly test and diagnose patients with infectious diseases directly at the point-of-care with easy-to-use test cartridges that require no refrigeration or cold-chain transport.

“Our devices impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to centralized testing,” says Dr. Helen Lee, founder and CEO of DRW. “Bright Machines is helping us quickly scale our production capacity to make our products even more accessible to remote areas.”

The implementation of a Bright Machines Microfactory allows DRW to better serve its existing customers and broaden its reach to underserved parts of the world, where access to advanced medical care is both limited and expensive.

“At Bright Machines, solving big, real-world problems is core to our mission,” says CEO Amar Hanspal. “We admire Diagnostics for the Real World for the important work they’re doing, and we’re proud to partner with them in their mission to scale their groundbreaking HIV testing technology to areas of the world that need it most.”

Specifically, adding a microfactory to the assembly and inspection phases of SAMBA II cartridge production will empower DRW to:

  • Reduce assembly labor costs by two-thirds, enabling DRW to redeploy people across manufacturing operations to increase overall production output and capacity
  • Speed up test cartridge assembly time from two minutes to just 20 seconds per unit
  • Increase annual production capacity by 10x to more than 1 million units a year 

“Bright Machines will allow us to produce more of our test cartridges at a faster rate, while also saving on labor costs,” says Jesse Lehga, VP of operations & business development for DRW. “This cost savings and increased output will directly impact the price of our diagnostics technology, making our tests even more affordable and accessible around the world.”