Pathogen seeks funding to aid growth

BROOMFIELD – Pathogen Systems Inc. hopes to raise $2 million from investors to help grow the company that makes a machine to test beef and spinach for e. Coli bacteria.

Broomfield-based Pathogen Systems plans to hire six people in 2014 in connection with its growth plans, said James Bruce, the company’s chief executive. The company plans to sell more of its pathogen-testing machines to food processors and test labs in 2014. The market for pathogen testing machines is about $3 billion annually, as more aspects of the federal Food Safety Modernization Act go into effect, Bruce said. Congress approved the new food testing standards in 2011.

Pathogen Systems has been accredited by an independent industry group to test ground beef, beef “trim,” and spinach for e. Coli bacteria, Bruce said. AOAC International, in Gaithersburg, Maryland, also is expected to accredit the machines for other e. Coli bacteria food testing in the future, he said. AOAC stands for the Association of Analytical Communities. E. Coli can cause serious infections in humans.

Bruce bills the company’s pathogen-testing machines as faster, more accurate and about half the price of other pathogen-testing machines on the market. The machines sell for $25,000 apiece; with five sold so far to customers that include the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The machines are assembled in Broomfield. Antibody test kits and biocassettes used in the machines are assembled by the company in Kent, Ohio, Bruce said.

Pathogen Systems previously received $2 million in equity investment at the beginning of 2013. The company is expected to be profitable in 2015, Bruce said.

Pathogen Systems does business as Crystal Diagnostics Ltd., with 18 employees in total working at the Broomfield and Ohio locations. The company started in 2007 after licensing technology from Northeast Ohio Medical University and Kent State University in Ohio.

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