On November 23, 2020 Sixth Wave (SIXW.C) announced that it just signed an agreement with researchers at the University of Alberta to develop the company’s Accelerated Molecularly Imprinted Polymer (AMIPs) technology, that uses synthetic polymers to swiftly detect viruses such as the SARS-CoV-2 that causes Covid-19.
Sixth Wave will work with researchers at the University of Alberta’s Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology, under Founder Professor Lorne Tyrell.
Partnerships with universities don’t always quicken the pulse of retail investors.
But the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology is no ordinary center of higher learning.
It is a super-star research institution with 32 Principal Investigators and 120 trainees and technicians.
Dr. Houghton – a Director and Research Chair holder at Li Ka Shing – just won a Nobel Prize.
So there’s that.
Houghton – along with two American scientists – “made a decisive contribution to the fight against blood-borne hepatitis, a major global health problem that is responsible for 400,000 premature deaths globally each year,” stated the Nobel Assembly in Stockholm.
For SIXW shareholders, there are a couple of things to note here.
Firstly, Sixth Wave is not exclusively a “Covid-19 solution” company.
SIXW is a nanotechnology company focusing on extraction and detection of target substances at the molecular level using highly specialized Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (MIPs).
Its core technology has diversified utility across multiple industries.
For example, SIXW is in the process of a commercial roll out of its Affinity cannabinoid purification system, as well as, IXOS, a line of extraction polymers for the gold mining industry.
Secondly, the notion that a 90%-effective corona virus vaccine will make Covid-19 vanish, may be overly optimistic.
The data from vaccinations against garden-variety flu, provide a cautionary tale.
“Because flu viruses mutate constantly and the vaccine wears off over time, you can’t get vaccinated once and expect to be covered for years,” states Web MD, “The vaccine must be changed each year, in hopes of matching the ever-mutating viruses. And that’s been a challenge.”
“A vaccine is often seen as the holy grail that will end the pandemic, but a report from researchers brought together by the Royal Society, said we need to be “realistic” about what a vaccine could achieve and when,” warns BBC news.
“Vaccine hesitancy is a growing problem that had become embroiled in anti-mask, anti-lockdown ideologies,” stated one researcher.
AMIPs is based on Sixth Wave’s patented and patent-pending molecularly imprinted polymer systems, which propose to capture viruses using synthetic materials rather than biological antibodies.
The University of Alberta has provided lab facilities and equipment to facilitate the specialized molecular imprinting process – specifically for versions of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Polymer prototypes will be produced in the lab and subjected to intensive testing to prove:
- response time
- detection limits
“If researchers are successful, the AMIPs technology could be an affordable, reliable and easy-to-use method to rapidly detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 and provide a platform for expanding the detection capability to almost any virus,” states SIXW.
“The prompt diagnosis would allow even asymptomatic people to know if they have contracted the virus, dispensing with the delays, inconvenience and uncertainty of current testing practices”.
SIXW COVID-19 MIP Core Technology Highlights:
- Captures the virus using polymer rather than relying on antibodies grown in rabbits.
- Operates in more diverse environments because the polymer is more robust and stable than antibodies.
- No supply chain issues associated with growing and transporting antibodies.
- No killing of lab bunnies.
- Multiple applications – mask can be worn several times.
- Extended time period test (users breaths/mask-wearer collects samples
- Improved effective detection threshold (you can’t keep swabbing or spitting onto a lateral flow test).
- No waiting in a line to give a sample.
- synthetic nature, highly saleable and infinitely adaptable platform, because it does not require the cultivation of antigens or collection of antibodies.
- Radical reduction in costs.
This last point – cost reduction – will be an important differentiator for any future commercial product.
“A virus has a size and shape and we create an imprint in our polymer for that exact virus,” explained President, CEO and Founder Dr. Jonathan Gluckman, “We are working to integrate this into masks and breathalyzers.”
“If you think about putting a mask on,” added Gluckman, “not only will that mask provide protection, it can also, right there, be the test for COVID-19.”
Dr. Gluckman believes that the test will be cheaper, faster, less invasive, and easier to use – than competing technologies.
SIXW’s intention is “to incorporate the AMIPs technology into a several rapid-detection products, including rapid virus test kits, SmartMask, as well as air and water monitoring systems”.
“The technology being developed by Sixth Wave could revolutionize virus detection platforms to manage current and future viral threats,” states Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology Professor Serpe.
“The solutions we develop will provide the first prototype AMIPs™ articles and will be the basis for launching various productization efforts resulting in both point-of-care and self-use products,” said Dr. Gluckman.
“The ability to produce a simple, inexpensive and accurate test that can be used by anyone without specialized training will be a significant development in the fight against this and other viral disease,” said Dr. Gluckman.
The agreement with the university will run for 12 weeks, with Sixth Wave paying the University $150,800 for their services. Any new intellectual property derived from this effort will remain the sole property of Sixth Wave.
“MIP-based analytical technologies are known for their flexibility, durability and accuracy,” confirmed Dr. Garrett Kraft, PhD, head of the Sixth Wave project, “Polymer substrates demonstrate resilience under adverse conditions and do not require climate-controlled storage as many antibody-based tests do.”
“They can therefore be readily applied to a host of materials, fabrics and other test media,” added Kraft, “These attributes, along with low cost and production scalability, have the potential to set AMIPs apart from traditional PCR [polymerase chain reaction] and immunoassay tests.”
Equity Guru’s own Chris Parry recently spoke with company CEO and founder, Jonathan Gluckman, PhD., in a two-parter interview to get a better look at the operation and what investors can expect over the next 12 months.
“Sixth Wave is honored to work with such a distinguished research team,” stated Gluckman. The Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology “provides a unique combination of skills and a breadth of knowledge in polymer synthesis and virology. This combination has the potential to streamline and reduce the time/cost of our development.”
Full Disclosure: Sixth Wave is an Equity Guru marketing client.