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Sweating the very small things (04/05)

By KELLY LOUISEIZE Molecular World Inc. has built itself a reputation as one of the keys to Thunder Bay’s health sciences sector.


Molecular World Inc. has built itself a reputation as one of the keys to Thunder Bay’s health sciences sector. Having obtained Standard Council of Canada accreditation and approval from the American Institution for Blood Banks in record time, the young DNA profiling lab has the bio-science sector abuzz with the promise of strong revenue performance.

The company was established in 2003. It is the only organization in Canada where modern and antiquated DNA testing can be done.

In 2004, they were awarded work in the form of testing forensic and legal paternity samples from several national agencies.

Molecular World (MWI) director and general manager Dr. Amarjit Chahal has worked on over 7,000 criminal and civil cases during his career.

The 2005 outlook is promising, now that the company has received its accreditation, he says. “Revenues are expected to grow exponentially.”

MWI’s qualified staff, hired from Lakehead University, will help him get there. Currently, four full-time scientists and one part-time researcher round out the MWI team. Those numbers will grow to 25 in the next two years, he says. The company has been expanding its volume, securing forensic criminal samples from an American government agency.

“It is going to reach up to 1,000 samples this year,” Chahal says.

Another company from Malta (a small three-island nation in the Mediterranean Sea) has started sending approximately 20 cases a week to Thunder Bay. It is expected the total will amount to 1,000 samples.

More sub-contracting agreements are expected to be signed bringing the volume of 20 to 40 samples at a time to 100.

Each of the companies has to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the cases, but the RCMP, OPP and several municipal police services have been sending samples to the laboratory. MWI is a total contamination control facility, which means modern samples are kept separate from aged samples. They are passed through small holes to avoid cross-contamination, particularly between comparison and evidentiary samples.

MWI is connected with international companies that will help swell the volume of samples as time goes on.

“They are not only consultants in terms of guiding us to grow, they are helping us to attract cases.”

Employees from the international companies have visited the lab and recognize its state-of-the-art technology.

“The word is out and we are moving forward.”

Having worked five years for a large-volume company in the United States, three years in Toronto and excellent academic credentials have qualified Chahal as an expert witness to the courts.