Cozart Bioscience Limited was founded in 1993, and is a small company
of 14 people specialising in the design, development, manufacture and
sales of immunoassay strips for drugs testing. The company's products
are used in the medical and drugs testing market sectors. Company sales
in 1997 were approximately 600 KECU. The company's industrial sector
is defined as chemical products (Prodcom Code 2466). Prior to this application
experiment, the company had no experience of microelectronics technology.
The existing products are entirely chemical, and require that drug
level results be interpreted visually using trained operators. This
interpretation is subjective, and as the process is non-linear the process
is inadequate for use in widespread drugs testing programmes.
The objective of this application experiment was to develop a device
(the Cozart RapiScan) similar to current breath alcohol instruments,
but using saliva as the sample for the detection of drugs saliva samples
processed by the company's current immunoassay test strips. The improved
product is a hand-held instrument complete with integral reader and
microcontroller. The functions performed by the improved product include:
- Displaying the results of the sample evaluation on a LCD display.
- Result storage and facilities for transferring this information
to a PC.
- LED display status to indicate the progress of the test.
- Extraction of test sample bar code information and the storage
of this data with the test results.
The improved product is an unique product for the drug testing market,
providing Cozart with a patented, market leading technological solution
to the problem of low cost, widespread drug testing. The improved product
enables the company to meet the increasing demand for easy to use, on-site
drug screening equipment in such application as prisons, drug addiction
centres, clinics and emergency centres, the armed services, pre-employment
and employment screening, and roadside drug testing.
The costs of the prototype product development were 46 kEUR, and the
application experiment (to the prototype stage) was completed in 8 months.
The increased product sales delivered by the introduction of microcontroller
device technology will increase Cozart Bioscience's sales revenues significantly,
and produces a payback period of 11.2 months for the prototype development
costs. The return on investment for the prototype development costs
over the 10 year product life is estimated to be 1,200%.