Continuous Monitoring, Real-Time Decisions
What’s in the water? It’s a critical question, whether you’re producing a multi-million dollar batch of a pharmaceutical or treating oil and gas waste water from fracking operations. Everyone is concerned about water. In fact, monitoring water is of major importance for biotech firms, biofuel plants, biopharma manufacturing facilities, oil and gas waste water treatment facilities, food and beverage manufacturing facilities, and environmental firms performing groundwater site remediation.
Today, process operators in these industries are “flying blind.” After sending samples to expensive analytical laboratories it takes hours, days, or weeks to get answers. Without real-time, on-line data it isn’t possible to optimize process performance, increase efficiency, and ensure process compliance and environmental stewardship.
OptiEnz Sensors has developed breakthrough technology for making real-time decisions – biosensors based on a combination of enzymes and fiber optic technology providing real-time continuous measurement results with the same accuracy as laboratory equipment. OptiEnz measures a broad range of organic chemicals including sugars, alcohols, hydrocarbons and solvents.
Laying the Foundation for a Breakthrough Technology
OptiEnz Sensors, LLC, is a biotech company that produces innovative biosensors for continuously measuring organic chemical concentrations in water and aqueous solutions. The technology is based on 14 years of fundamental research on enzymatic sensor tips by the company’s founder and CTO, Dr. Ken Reardon.
Reardon, a professor and researcher at Colorado State University (CSU), recognized a significant need for a device that could measure the concentration of chemical contaminants in food and water—a device that could take these measurements rapidly, accurately, and inexpensively. Although traditional laboratory sampling methods can yield very accurate measurements, they are also complex, time-intensive, expensive, and—most importantly—they do not provide continuous in-place measurements.
Building on his years of research experience in biosensor technology and bioremediation, Reardon decided to combine his knowledge of biosensors and bacterial enzymes to produce a better tool for measuring contaminants in water. He spent the next 10 years developing the cutting-edge biosensor technology in his laboratory at CSU, with help from fellow engineering professors, several postdoctoral researchers, and CSU graduate and undergraduate students.
From Research Lab to Product
In 2010, working in tandem with Cenergy, CSU’s commercialization arm for clean and renewable technologies developed at the university, Reardon created OptiEnz Sensors, LLC, to develop, manufacture, and sell the biosensors. Later that year, the first commercial prototype sensor was developed, and OptiEnz began field testing. The company has now constructed and tested sensor tips for 18 different organic chemicals including alcohols, sugars, hydrocarbons, and solvents.
In 2012, OptiEnz officially spun off from CSU and became a client company of the Innosphere—a technology incubator that supports entrepreneurial ventures and startup companies related to cleantech, bioscience, and technology in Colorado. OptiEnz has been awarded funding from the Colorado House Bill 1001 early-stage commercialization grant, three National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants, and a Colorado Advanced Industries grant. The company is engaged in product trials, as well as sponsored development projects with several Fortune 500 companies.
OptiEnz offices and labs are located in the Innosphere in Fort Collins, about two miles from the Colorado State University campus.