Brian Sims

Smiths Detection opens new UK biolab in Hertfordshire

SMITHS DETECTION – a specialist in the development of threat detection and security screening equipment – has opened a new biolab at its Centre of Excellence in Hemel Hempstead. The lab will complement the research capabilities of the company’s Baltimore, Maryland site in the States in terms of developing next generation biological threat detection capabilities primarily for its BioFlash Biological Identifier.

Smiths Detection’s BioFlash is a desktop biothreat detection system that uses CANARY technology (ie a cell-based biosensor) in combination with proprietary aerosol collection techniques to rapidly identify biothreat agents from an air sample.

CANARY is a biosensor technology that delivers extremely rapid detection of pathogens with high sensitivity and specificity. Originally developed by scientists at MIT-Lincoln Laboratory to combat bioterrorism threats, CANARY technology has been licensed and commercialised by Smiths Detection.

Already, the BioFlash can detect biothreats such as anthrax, ricin, botulinum toxin, black plague, tularemia, smallpox and SARS-CoV-2. The Hemel Hempstead lab team members will work alongside colleagues in the US to develop new detection capabilities for known and unknown biothreats.

Producing BioDiscs out of Hemel Hempstead allows Smiths Detection to provide an even better service to its customers across Europe and nearby regions. The BioFlash received a CE marking in October, in fact, duly opening the way for the product to be sold in the European Union.

Milestone for the company

Matt Clark, Smiths Detection’s vice-president of technology, commented: “The new Biolab in Hemel Hempstead is a milestone for Smiths Detection and demonstrates our commitment to responding quickly to new and emerging threats and to supporting our customers in the region.”

Recently, Smiths Detection’s BioFlash was used at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games to support test high-security areas for the presence of SAR-CoV-2, with the UK biolab manufacturing and supplying the necessary BioDiscs throughout the Games.

A division of the Smiths Group, Smiths Detection devises inspection and detection technologies for the air transport, ports and borders, Armed Forces and urban security markets. With more than 70 years of experience in the field, the company delivers the necessary solutions to protect society from the threats posed by explosives, prohibited weapons, contraband, toxic chemical agents and narcotics, in turn helping to make the world a safer place.

*Further information is available online at

Company Info

Smiths Detection

Century House
27 Maylands Avenue

01923 65 8090

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