Current anti-doping analysis relies on the use of chemical techniques to detect banned substances in the test samples of athletes.

Whilst analytical chemistry is effective at detecting a range of known substances, it is unable to quickly identify the emerging range of designer androgens prevalent in the sports-doping arena and supplement industry.

firstFlagX is the bioassay kit developed by InsituGen to detect unknown androgens in the plasma of athletes or competing animals.

Utilising synthetic biology, the androgen pathway has been recreated in such a way as to detect androgen presence in a sample in as little as a few hours. With only the need for a plate fluorometer, the assay can be implemented in a lab with very little capital expenditure.

firstFlagX requires a small amount of blood in the form of plasma or serum as a test sample, and does not require specialised equipment or personnel.

firstFlagX can detect a wide array of androgens, anabolic steroids, and SARMs. firstFlagX is time-effective, able to screen samples in less than 3 hours, and is high throughput, with a capacity of up to 88 concurrent samples per kit. Analysis is quick  and easily interpreted on standard spreadsheet software.


firstFlagX can permit greater coverage of competing animals.

The speed of InsituGen’s bioassays can allow timely out-of-competition or pre-race testing to flag samples of interest, rapidly screen a larger number of competing animals per race with a low cost-per-sample. 


Learn about other applications

Steroid hormone testing for sports and nutritional supplements and wellness products

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Wellness testing in companion animals

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Monitoring environmental steroid hormone contamination

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