The company, axiVEND, spent 18 months in UCF’s Life Sciences Incubator in the Lake Nona Innovation District. The incubation program helps entrepreneurs by providing lab space to grow and virtual training to better plan for financial stability. Stock Image.

Sensor Testing Company Expands, Graduates Out of UCF’s Business Incubation Program

By: Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala on

UCF’s Business Incubation saw one of its high-tech clients graduate and move to a bigger location this month, where it expects to grow and hire half a dozen employees with salaries of up to $80,000 a year.

axiVEND specializes in providing sophisticated instruments and test-development solutions to companies involved in the research, development, and production of diagnostics test kits, sensors, and microarrays.

The company spent 18 months in UCF’s Life Sciences Incubator in the Lake Nona Innovation District. It is the newest of the three Central Florida districts. During that time, axiVEND benefited from lab space to grow its enterprise and virtual training to better plan for financial stability.

“The success of axiVEND is another example of the impact we can have on our region by helping to nurture these companies,” says Carol Ann Logue, director of programs and operations, Innovation Districts, and Business Incubation Program. “This company will be creating high-wage, specialized jobs in our local area for years to come, the exact reason why our community is investing in these programs.”

Claude Dufresne and his wife Suzanne founded and own the company. Claude Dufresne is a chemist and Suzanne is a microbiologist. They spent much of their careers with Merck & Co. in New Jersey. They chose to move to UCF’s Lake Nona Innovation District because a trusted colleague recommended it.

“By opening in the innovation district, using turnkey laboratory space was a quick way to get started,” Suzanne Dufresne says. “We’re quite thankful for having been a part of the incubator program. They offer a very valuable service for entrepreneurs.”

axiVEND will use its new 6,000-square-foot Winter Garden location to expand and continue developing new products such as multiplex testing products for the food industry for pathogen and contaminants detection. Using their new tests, laboratories can detect multiple bacteria or pesticides of interest with one test, as opposed to multiple single tests for each pathogen or contaminant.

“COVID-19 created a large demand for testing in people, and for our equipment and services,” Claude Dufresne says. “Beyond COVID-19, we see an emerging critical need for ongoing environmental and food supply monitoring.

“Food safety is an important factor for many consumers who trend to organic foods, but there is a significant lack of convenient accessible testing,” he says. “We have the know-how and equipment to produce these tests quickly and inexpensively.”

Claude Dufresne says the region’s infrastructure, which allows for easy nationwide shipping and the population growth in Central Florida, were key factors in choosing the Winter Garden site.

Logue says the success of each company the incubator helps, contributes to the local economy, and demonstrates the value of programs that support the business development ecosystem in Central Florida.

The UCF Business Incubation Program currently serves 115 companies in several counties. For the 2017-2018 fiscal years, the activities of these participating firms have helped to sustain more than 6,725 local jobs and have had a cumulative impact of over $725 million on regional GDP and more than $1.3 billion on regional sales, according to a Florida High Tech Corridor bi-annual analysis. The program began 20 years ago and has seen

Share This Article

Featured Content image

UCF Recognizes 6 Top Scholars as 2022 Luminary Award Winners

Six faculty members were lauded for being leaders and making impacts in their fields during UCF’s annual Luminary Awards on Tuesday at Leu Gardens in Orlando. The Luminary Awards are...

Read More

Featured Content image

New $1.25 Million Research Project Will Map Materials at the Nanoscale

A University of Central Florida researcher will lead a recently announced $1.25 million project to map and manipulate materials at the nanoscale. The project’s funding is through the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation,...

Read More

Featured Content image

New NASA-funded Study Hopes to Put Risks of Space Junk on People’s Radar

Space may seem infinite but the real estate in Earth’s orbit is filling up fast with junk. The debris orbiting the Earth consists of human-made objects that no longer serve...

Read More

Featured Content image

UCF is Developing Materials to Stop Hydrogen Leaks Like the Ones Delaying Artemis Launch

The University of Central Florida researchers are developing materials for stopping hydrogen leaks, like the ones that have halted the launch of Artemis 1. Their work just received a significant...

Read More