The first assay being automated is used to identify pathogens in raw milk from dairy cows.
Currently, dairy cows are tested for health through a network of laboratories and when symptoms of bacterial infections appear, pathogens are detected using traditional plate cultures.
SQI will be paid to deliver an automated working prototype of one of the customer's assays, on its sqidlite device – a benchtop system that allows processing of one plate per run, after 20 minutes setup.
The initial phase is scheduled to end by mid-September, after which other molecular diagnostic tests could be commissioned in a separate agreement.
The UK-based company is developing assays for agriculture, food safety and human pathogen testing, intended to screen high volumes of samples on a regular basis.
Andrew Morris, CEO of SQI Diagnostics, said: "Although our automated systems have been developed to run our own protein-based IVD and pharma assays, our technology solution is highly adaptable to other types of tests and this presents a valuable additional market opportunity where our technologies can be applied with the potential for significant test volumes and revenue."