The continued spread of COVID-19 has posed serious health threats across the globe, and the City of Ann Arbor is no exception. Understanding the gravity of the global pandemic, LynxDx viewed this social dilemma as a vital opportunity to expand its business model to provide a critical service to the region. In November 2020, LynxDx opened a drive-through COVID testing site in partnership with 2\42 Community Church and theWashtenaw County Health Department.
The strength of this initiative lies in the ease and convenience it offers to the public. The site is open to all residents of the state, regardless of their insurance status. Even if a person doesn’t have major symptoms, they can access free testing as long as they present a valid driver’s license or state ID. The no-contact saliva tests make regular testing painless and straightforward. Among labs in Michigan, LynxDx is now ranked second in the state for turnaround time.
While the test site has been successful, spearheading community health initiatives was not the initial vision for LynxDx. The biotech company launched in 2015 with a focus on developing a urine test that can screen for men’s prostate cancer. When the pandemic began, they saw the necessity for local testing and were one of the first approved vendors to offer free tests in Michigan. Since November their testing efforts have skyrocketed to include more entities across the city. Now LynxDx completes tests for St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and their lab processes 10,000 tests a week for University of Michigan.
The company’s conscious choice to pivot has ultimately contributed to the welfare of the region. “Supporting the community was critical for us as an organization whose core goals are rooted in accurately identifying diseases,” said Steven Riggs, chief operating officer at LynxDx. “Ultimately, the standardization of free testing will help control the spread of the virus and expand equitable health resources for individuals across the city.”
“SPARK is proud to have LynxDx as a client and we value its community-focused efforts,” said Dr. Margarita Hernandez, Ann Arbor SPARK director of entrepreneurial services. “Its ability to adapt in challenging circumstances illustrates a key pillar in entrepreneurship.” LynxDx has been a virtual tenant at the SPARK Central Innovation Center (SCIC) since August 2020 and is working with the SPARK entrepreneurial services team to accelerate its growth. Located at MI-HQ, Ann Arbor’s premier biotech incubator and wet lab facility, LynxDx has also utilized Ann Arbor SPARK’s job portal to recruit new talent, growing to 90 people from four in just one year.
Both SPARK and LynxDx are mutually invested in the advancement of the region and the health of the Ann Arbor community. The cutting-edge work at LynxDx showcases the rise of biotechnology as a necessity in dealing with modern health crises. “Innovations in biotech are important for the regional economy because technological advances sustain our population and keep Ann Arbor at the forefront of the industry,” added Dr. Hernandez. To register for testing visit lynxdx.health/register.