10 Mar 2020

Based at BHT1 since 2015, the Leti start-up is developing and marketing a connected pocket laboratory based on lens-free imaging technology, called the LabPad®.

This device enables numerous biological analyses to be carried out from a simple drop of finger blood and the results to be transmitted almost immediately via Bluetooth to the patient and their carers.

Tell us about LabPad®.

Our pocket laboratory is an intelligent system that includes a miniaturised microscope and microcuvettes with innovative microfluidics.
It allows analyses to be carried out in record time, close to the patient.
The heart of the device is a CMOS* image sensor.
It is a component like those found in smartphone cameras except that we replace the optical lenses with image reconstruction algorithms, which transform the raw sensor into a microscope.
Each analysis requires a microcuvette containing a freeze-dried reagent, which is inserted into a window, facing the sensor, and illuminated by several light sources.
When a drop of blood mixes with the reagent, the biological phenomena characteristic of the parameters to be measured are observed in real time and the result is generated by the image processing algorithm.
In 2020, Avalun’s teams developed the second generation LabPad® and a rapid antigen test Covid-19 which received CE marking in November.
The success we have had gives us momentum and is accelerating the development of new tests that will broaden the use of LabPad®.

Are all of your activities based at BHT1?

Not all… Our offices are not at BHT1, but a few minutes away, at Grenoble INP-Phelma.
Initially, we only rented a 90 m2 laboratory at BHT that we used for R&D.
But in 2017 we started to produce Tsmart® microcuvettes (the consumables for INR/TP tests) and we also invested in a clean room.
This is where we carry out the freeze-drying of the biological reagent.
This is the most critical stage of the process, which can only be performed in a perfectly controlled environment.
As for the Covid-19 antigen test, Avalun has it made elsewhere, by a French partner.

What are the advantages of the BHT for a company like Avalun?

Renting technical premises of this quality is a rare opportunity, especially as it is a short-term lease that can be terminated with minimal notice.
For a start-up, whose needs can change very quickly, this flexibility is essential.
The other major advantage is the support and services offered by the infrastructure, because a start-up with 18 employees like ours does not have the resources to recruit a facility manager.
The MINATEC ENTREPRISES team is expert, readily available and efficient.
The lab and clean room refurbishment work went very well and the management of small day-to-day problems is perfectly managed.
We have such good relations that they seem to be part of the company!
Thanks to them, we don’t have to worry about logistics and can focus on our business.

* Complementary metal oxide semiconductor