Ririe makes cool tools for Idaho Technology

April 1, 2010

Kirk Ririe


CEO and Founder, Idaho Technology Inc.


BS Chemistry
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT


Enjoys paragliding, outdoor activities, and making cool stuff.

(See photo above!)
 A dedicated husband and father.

Serves on the University of
College of Science Advisory Board
Technology Commercialization
Advisory Board.

Potato “buds.”
Idaho Technology has grown from a self-financed endeavor set up in a
potato-equipment shop in Idaho to a company with more than 250 employees
doing business around the world. It has been an amazing 20 years since
Carl Wittwer, Randy Rasmussen, and I started the company. Randy is now
the president of the company, and Carl is our chief scientific officer.

Uncle Sam called. One area in which we have been particularly successful is our work with the
U.S. military. Several years ago, we were approached by a cadre of military
lab personnel and asked to develop a platform system to address the
military's need for better diagnostics for biological warfare agents. They
were interested in a fast, highly sensitive and specific, user-friendly
solution. And we responded by delivering our R.A.P.I.D., JBAIDS, and RAZOR
instruments, as well as a line of freeze-dried reagents to support these
platforms. Our success in responding to the demands of the military has put
us is a great position as we prepare to make our first major foray into the
clinical diagnostics marketplace with the FilmArray system.

Doing more with less. Solutions that offer greater user-friendliness, faster turnaround times, and
less hands-on time have the greatest effect on laboratories. Labs are
constantly being asked to do more with less — less money, fewer employees,
less space. Technologies that make quantum leaps in enabling labs to do more
with less will be the technologies that revolutionize laboratory medicine.
We are very hopeful that the FilmArray system — a user-friendly multiplex
PCR platform — will be one of these technologies. Our first application for
this system, a respiratory panel (RP), is designed to simultaneously test
one sample for 18 viral and three bacterial pathogens. The FilmArray
integrates sample preparation, amplification, detection, and analysis into
one instrument that requires only five minutes of hands-on time and has a
turnaround time of one hour. The FilmArray RP is currently in FDA clinical
trials, and we anticipate launching this product in time for the next flu
season. Currently, molecular-diagnostic respiratory-pathogen panels are
generally time consuming and labor intensive. The FilmArray RP vastly
reduces the time and labor involved in this process which should free up lab
personnel time for other activities.

Employee appreciation. Idaho
Technology has an aggressive tuition reimbursement program, and we
actively recruit from the major universities and colleges in our region.
We have a strong relationship with the University of Utah and have
helped develop programs to prepare students for careers in
biotechnology. One of the key drivers of our success is our relationship
with the University of Utah, both in terms of technology transfer and
highly skilled, qualified employees. Idaho Technology and its employees
strive to be active, contributing members of our community. For example,
this year in connection with our 20th anniversary, we are collecting
2,000 pounds of food for the Utah Food Bank, organizing a clothing drive
for The Road Home (a local homeless shelter), participating in the Adopt
a U.S. Solider program, and working with the American Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. One of the most rewarding aspects of
my career at Idaho Technology is the opportunity to work with so many
talented people who care deeply about giving back to our community.