DRW Turns to Bright Machines to Increase Production by 10X Annually, Broadening Access to HIV Diagnostics Across Underserved Countries

Bright Machines Selected by Diagnostics for the Real World to Automate Manufacturing of HIV Testing Equipment

January 29, 2020 – San Francisco and San Jose, CA – Today, Bright Machines™ and Diagnostics for the Real World (DRW) announced Bright Machines will automate the production of their groundbreaking SAMBA diagnostic platform, allowing 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. This partnership will enable the company to free 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, thanks to Bright Machines’ Software-Defined Manufacturing. 

Software-Defined Manufacturing, which connects individual machines to an intelligent software layer to configure, monitor and manage operations, represents the next wave of industrial automation and is fundamental to reimagining the factory floor. In 2019, Bright Machines released its first product against this vision, Bright Machines Microfactories. Providing the next generation of automation, microfactories’ adaptive robotic systems take advantage of intelligent software, machine learning and computer vision to deliver significantly better assembly efficiency, while getting more intelligent and automated over time.

DRW, based in San Jose, CA and Cambridge, United Kingdom, offers 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, the diagnostic tools allow 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,” said 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.”

For the rapidly growing number of clinics around the world that rely on DRW’s testing devices, affordability and availability of test cartridges is imperative to ensure fast, accurate diagnosis and disease management for patients. 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,” said Amar Hanspal, CEO of Bright Machines. “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 allow 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,” said Jesse Lehga, Vice President 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.”

About Diagnostics for the Real World Ltd.

DRW was founded in 2002 as a spinoff company from the University of Cambridge. The company is committed to tackling some of the world’s most serious infectious diseases by making breakthrough point-of-care diagnostics broadly available, especially in resource-limited settings. For more information visit www.drw-ltd.com

To learn more about our capabilities in building the backbone of AI, visit Bright Machines.

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