While IMMY’s products saves lives worldwide, 70 percent of the company’s market share is in the United States. Tests for respiratory diseases in the Mississippi-Ohio River Valley gave IMMY a big market bump, as did the test for another respiratory disease, Valley Fever, which is endemic to in Arizona and southern California.
In 2007, that growth spurred the company to move from its initial location into the Norman Business Park on State Highway 9 on the east side of town.
In 2010, Sean Bauman traveled to Africa. Persons with compromised immune systems are particularly vulnerable to certain diseases, one of which is a disease that causes fungal meningitis.
IMMY’s legacy tests — the products developed by Scott and Sean’s father, Stan Bauman — require refrigeration. But in places like sub-Saharan Africa, where thousands die each year of the disease, cost-prohibitive products that have to be refrigerated aren’t going to get to many people.
Sean Bauman conceived of the idea of creating a test that would be used and read on a strip, much like a standard home pregnancy test. It would be easy to use, low cost to manufacture and ship, and low cost to sell to clinics in Africa and in impoverished nations where the need was greatest.
Sean Bauman’s idea worked. Now those strips are being shipped globally.
“We can catch it (cryptococcosis) before it’s meningitis,” Scott Bauman said. “More people die of this disease than car wrecks. It’s the third largest killer of AIDs patients — it causes about 400,000 orphans in Africa each year.”
Cryptococcal infection is also a cause of invasive fungal infection in solid organ transplant recipients, according to the Medical Laboratory Observer, which did a story on IMMY’s test strips in March.
Now, IMMY has done it again, with its Myco DDR reagent set, which enables labs to obtain a more sensitive and specific diagnosis for tuberculosis.