The Olathe company makes its mark in the testing marketplace.
It’s the stuff that makes TV crime shows interesting. A suspected criminal releases a dangerous chemical somewhere in the city. Experts are sent in with special testing technology, and they uncover the hazardous agent with state-of-the-art technology just in time to save the public from annihilation.
While it makes for great drama, this kind of diagnostic technology really does exist—and an Olathe company is one of the successful startups producing such products.
“We are focused on development of new and emerging technology for bio and agro food safety and national security,” said Patrick Williams, one of the company’s founders.
Ansera Analytics sells its own molecular diagnostic systems that can find pathogens and detect explosives and narcotics.
Williams has a wellspring of experience in the field. He spent six years working at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the medical examiner’s officer.
“I was in charge of the Army’s DNA technology development program,” Williams said. “In the early 1990s, I was charged with creating the tools to study human DNA markers, working with the FBI and the Department of Defense.”
He added, chuckling: “It was like NCIS, but none of us was that good-looking or got to arrest anybody.”
Williams and his co-founders were able to start Ansera without venture capital or other outside funding.
“That’s fairly unique … and we are still operating with very little debt,” Williams said.
Ansera Analytics’ customers are primarily public organizations, including the federal departments of Defense and Agriculture, universities and first responders’ groups.
Currently, Ansera Analytics’ plant pathology kits are being used at numerous universities such as Kansas State and the University of Minnesota and at such companies as Monsanto.
Ansera recently was awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant by the Defense Department to continue work on the next generation of the Army’s Reconnaissance Sampling Kit for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats. Williams is hopeful the kits will be ready within 18 months.
Landing the SBIR grant and other projects has put Ansera Analytics on a path of continuous growth. From 2015 to 2016 to date, the young company has more than tripled its revenues.
And Ansera plans to keep it going by regularly introducing new products. Its next, a sampling device for infectious agents, should debut in the second quarter of 2017.