Founded in 1983, Precision BioLogic (formerly Precision Biologicals) originally developed conventional diagnostic coagulation products that were sold in Atlantic Canada and some markets overseas. The company had minimal success, however, because its products had few distinct advantages over other products on the market.
In 1991, with support from one of the company’s shareholders, Michael Scott, Precision BioLogic began to revitalize itself. By approaching existing and new customers for input, they were able to develop products that offered unique value. This method proved to be valuable for Precision BioLogic, and it has grown into a leader in Nova Scotia’s life sciences sector. Like most success stories, this change did not happen overnight. Entering the diagnostics market is no easy task regardless of where you are located due to exacting regulatory requirements, but with a mix of strong leadership, customer listening, and a supportive corporate culture, Precision BioLogic will be marking 25 years of success with its core product line, CRYOcheck™, this year.
CRYOcheck frozen products are used to diagnose blood clotting disorders with several significant advantages compared to competitors’ products. Conventional freeze-dried products require reconstitution – a 30- to 40-minute process that introduces the possibility of preparation errors. CRYOcheck can be ready in three to five minutes.
“When a patient requires emergency care or surgery and a physician needs to test for clotting disorders – time is of the essence. Our product can deliver results in minutes, saving the doctor and patient valuable time,” says Paul Empey, President and CEO of Precision BioLogic.
Through customer feedback, Precision BioLogic discovered that freezing plasma products improved clarity, stability, accuracy and decreased the threat of inaccuracies. The concept for the first CRYOcheck product was developed in close collaboration with a pilot group of 13 hospitals across Canada and was officially launched in Canada in 1992. It received FDA clearance in the United States less than a year later.
Handling and shipping these products does not come without its’ challenges. Precision BioLogic prides itself on customer listening and providing the best service possible, which includes shipping its products overnight on dry ice to avoid thawing, colour coding its products, providing several tools to assist in storage, thawing and preparation and contacting customers to ensure the safe arrival of its products.
“Precision BioLogic has been successful because we pride ourselves on customer listening. The customers steer us in the direction we need to go with our products, and we deliver,” explains Empey.
In addition to celebrating 25 years of success, last year Precision BioLogic was the first IVD diagnostics manufacturer to donate product through the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) Humanitarian Aid Program. The donation provided much-needed calibrators, controls and reagents to the University Teaching Hospital in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The donation was an important first step in the effort to improve and sustain care for people with bleeding disorders such as hemophilia, and Precision BioLogic plans to continue its support with the WFH to improve the care in third world countries.
“We are working with the World Federation of Hemophilia to enter into a multi-year relationship to continue and expand our donations to countries that need our diagnostics,” says Empey. “We are very excited about this relationship because helping others is important to us at Precision BioLogic.”
All the success and excitement has not distracted Empey, who was appointed President and CEO in November, from strategizing about the company’s future growth.
“Moving forward, the key areas I would like to see Precision BioLogic expand on would be entering partnerships – largely in the pharmaceutical industry. I would also like to see us get back to our roots in product and research development; we have plans to initiate a process to which we are hoping to get a new product into the pipeline each year.”
Lastly, Empey, a Massachusetts native who now calls Nova Scotia home, makes a call to the life sciences industry, “We have something special here, Michael Scott saw it; I see it. My vision moving forward is to create a collaborative community in Nova Scotia, so the rest of Canada and the world know that there is a spot in Atlantic Canada that’s growing and excelling in the development of life sciences.”