Vivione Partners with Global Firm to Offer Diagnostic Test for Oil and Gas Industries

Vivione Biosciences of Pine Bluff has announced a partnership with the Institute for Environmental Health that will open up its pathogen detection system to the oil and gas industries.

The strategic alliance agreement with IEH will provide Vivione access to IEH's global network of 119 labs including one in northwest Arkansas and has already produced new diagnostic tests being marketed under the name Petro Chemical Bio-Diagnostics.

The tests, co-developed by Vivione and IEH, are designed to reduce oil-and-gas producers' costs by "accurately and rapidly diagnosing the bacteria issues that could potentially cost producers hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars," according to a news release.

Vivione, founded in 2006, is an Innovate Arkansas and Arkansas Science & Technology Authority client firm whose rapid-B detection system provides a universal platform for the real-time detection of microbial contamination in food, bio-medicine, clinical and now oil-and-gas settings. It is publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).

"The strategic alliance with IEH is a big win for us," said Vivione CEO Kevin Kuykendall. "IEH has over 13 years of experience operating 119 labs around the world, which gives us access to facilities and necessary personnel to support our new product offerings."

The announcement is the latest in a string of planned partnerships designed to expand Vivione's market reach. Last summer, Vivione partnered with KPL of Gaithersburg, Md., to develop food-borne pathogen detection kits, and last month it acquired 50 percent royalty interest from Litmus LLC of Houston in molecular design technology originally developed by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. 

The FDA's main research center is the National Center for Toxicological Research located just outside Pine Bluff at Jefferson. In 2012, Vivione partnered with NCTR to develop its rapid-B technology. Vivione leases space at the U.S. Army's Pine Bluff Arsenal which sits adjacent to NCTR.

"We are excited to be working with Vivione on these new product offerings," said Mansour Samadpour, CEO of IEH, in the release. "Both companies have had success in the microbiology field and have worked in food service. We believe our new suite of product offerings will provide customers with the necessary diagnostic information to reduce their exposure to microbial contaminations that are costing the industry millions annually. Petro Chemical Bio-Diagnostics is the first suite of offerings we’ve seen that provides valuable information, specifically identifying the type of bacteria that are in wells and which biocides will have the greatest efficacy.

"We believe this solution will meet the growing needs of microbial detection within the oil and gas industry."

Vivione's products released under Petro Chemical Bio-Diagnostics include the Well Characterization Test (WCT), Bio-Treatment Efficacy Test (BET) and Total Bacteria Count (TBC). Kuykendall said the products enable oil and gas producers to make more informed decisions regarding types and quantities of biocides to use in their specific wells.

IEH was founded in 2001 and its corporate headquarters is located in Lake Forest Park, Wash. In addition to the U.S., IEH operates labs and research centers in Canada, Mexico, Australia, England and Germany.