Gentueri Inc. contributes 55,000 COVID-19 testing kits a week to the state’s lab capacity and is developing new testing kits that can be used in the workplace.
Gentueri’s main business is working with laboratories to improve result quality and lab efficiency by advancing collection, preservation and processing of biological samples with kits. They make sexual assault kits for the Wisconsin Crime Lab, collection kits and genetic testing kits.
In mid-March, after predicting a slowdown in business, Nagy decided to expand Gentueri from four employees to 25 and pivoted to produce COVID-19 testing kits that include the nasal swabs and Viral Transport Media — material that keeps the virus alive in the sample for the lab — for local laboratories.
“We realized that there was a shortage of the kits out there, and the fact that we’re a biological sample collection company we figured we have the expertise to make these,” said Randy Nagy, president and CEO of Gentueri.
After a call to the state hygiene laboratory, company officials sourced the materials they would need for the kits, purchased a machine to make the kits and started producing the kits. They’ve since expanded to help other states in need: Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Nebraska, Michigan and Kansas.
According to Nagy, what employers are looking for now is a way to test their employees to make them feel safe. With expertise in sample collection, Gentueri is developing a CollectEject Swab Kit that uses an oral sample rather than the long thin swab taken high up in the nasal cavity.
This allows an individual to easily collect a sample themselves and send it to a lab for automated processing, said Nagy.
“We see a big opportunity there and that will go until there is a vaccine available,” he said. “This pivot has given us exposure to the genetic testing world. We can help the community and the laboratories with their immediate problem. We’re not only doing it ourselves, but helping other companies in the end to provide their services as well.”
-By Stephanie Hoff