Archer looks to commercialisation future with graphene-based biosensor tech

The Australian company has developed portable hardware to interface with its biosensor technology, touting progress towards graphene biosensors for disease detection.

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Prototype of portable, battery powered, biosensing device - a few centimetres in size.

Image: Archer Materials

Archer Materials has announced progressing work on its graphene-based biosensor technology.

The Australian company told shareholders on Thursday it has developed a new set of graphene materials that could be applied for enhanced biosensing and to aid in the development of biocompatible inks in water-based solvents.

Archer said doing so could eliminate the use of hazardous and non-biocompatible chemicals, increasing the scope of biomolecules that can be detected.

"There is no doubt that diseases have a devastating effect on economies and there is value in advancing disease diagnosis using simpler, more accurate biosensors," Archer CEO Dr Mohammad Choucair said. "However, there are only a limited number of materials that can perform [biosensing], and they require innovative development."

Archer said laboratory synthesis was complemented with computational chemistry to calculate and visualise the materials candidates at the atom-level for their suitability in biomolecular sensing.

"We have rapidly advanced from raw material feedstock to prototypes of a portable battery-powered sensing device that can incorporate biological material," Choucair said. "This early stage work has the potential to allow much simpler and more effective sensing where early diagnosis of life-threatening diseases can lead to much improved outcomes."

With Australia traditionally not so good at commercialising research and development, Archer touted its graphene-based biotechnology as at an early stage of commercialisation.

It said it has been working with commercial advisors within the Australian biotech industry to produce a roadmap.

Archer's commercial strategy involves applying the "triple-helix business model" for biotechnology innovation to develop printable graphene-based biosensor componentry and sublicense the associated intellectual property rights.

It's hoping to do this by developing commercial-grade prototypes; pursuing patent applications in Australia, the United States, and Europe; and establishing commercial partnerships.

Last month, Archer announced its plan to raise up to AU$3 million, offering shares at AU$0.60 per share.

The funds raised will be used to increase the pace of Archer's current work programs and to start hiring additional staff to do this work, it said.

Also in May, Archer announced a new agreement with IBM which it hopes will advance quantum computing and progress work towards solutions for the greater adoption of the technology.

Joining the IBM Q Network, Archer will gain access to IBM's quantum computing expertise and resources, seeing the Sydney-based company use IBM's open-source software framework, Qiskit.

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