Destroy the Matrix
KBioscience isn’t a biobank in the traditional sense: “We destroy the matrix,” explained sales director Niels Kruize. Rather, blood, tissue, saliva, and other biologicals including agricultural samples such as seeds, are processed into DNA as quickly as possible, and it is this that is banked for the CRO’s customers.
Sample collections are often larger than the customer can hold and need to be condensed, normalized, and standardized. Sometimes they come in with labels that are wrong or just can’t be read.
Among the first things KBioscience does is separate these out and apply common barcodes to all the tubes and plates they get in. Samples are then transferred to individual barcoded tubes. “That’s a critical step,” Kruize said. So critical, in fact, that they dedicate two people to the process, “to make sure that you get the right sample into the right tube.”
Samples are mixed with buffer and silica, and as such can remain stable at room temperature for weeks. There is no need for a precipitation step during purification. Eluted samples are tested—including a 220–350 nm scan to test for purity, PCR-based genotyping, and customer-specific assays for quality control—and aliquotted into three portions.
Of the eluted DNA, 80% goes into the 2-D barcoded tube, and 10% goes into plates that are shipped back to the customer. The last 10% is frozen down at -20°C and stored at KBioscience for future SNP genotyping.
The tube with the remaining silica resin, still containing a small percentage of the DNA, is dried and then taped to and stored along with the original sample tube and housed off-site for long-term storage. All fractions remain the property of the customer.
Every step along the way is controlled and documented in the company’s custom LIMS. But rather than automating the entire process, which Kruize explained would have been too expensive and error prone, “we buy simple plastic trays and we label them per project. Individual plates and tubes go in these labeled barcoded trays and can be retrieved at any given time.”
Within days of the conference, it was announced that KBioscience had been acquired by LGC and will join with LGC’s genomics division.