QuantuMDx negotiated exclusive, worldwide rights to Nanosys’ nanostructures technology for biosensor application, including DNA sequencing and the detection of disease-related nucleic acid biomarkers. The core IP involves the use of nanowire and nanotubes in biosensors including field effect transistor (FET) biosensors. QuantuMDx says it will use the technology for the development of its handheld clinical DNA sequencing device for point-of-care diagnostics.
The firm is focused on the development of low-cost, portable, handheld diagnostic, genomic sequencing, and proteomic platforms. Its first commercial product, projected for launch in 2013, is the Q-POC™, a handheld point-of-care platform, which will run an initial portfolio of companion diagnostic assays and multidrug resistant infectious disease tests, including TB, HIV, and STIs. Other products in development include the Q-SEQ™ portable genomic sequencer and the InVenio™ whole proteome array.
“The power of Nanosys’s technology is that it enables accurate diagnosis and quantification of multiple biomarkers using small arrays of biosensors that readily lends itself to our ‘DNA sequencing while you wait’ diagnostic devices,” comments Elaine Warburton, QuantuMDx CEO.
The firm maintains that the handheld diagnostic device will be relatively inexpensive and provide results within minutes. “It will be an exciting and significant new instrument in the clinical tool box,” adds the firm’s medical director, Sir John Burn, M.D., “I believe it will facilitate the wider uptake of DNA sequencing by the medical fraternity.”
The Q-POC platform utilizes microfluidics for DNA extraction from a range of clinical samples and QuantuMDx’s biosensor to detect the binding of analytes to probes immobilized on the surface of a nanowire array. Because detection is based on electrical charge, the technology requires no fluorescence, no optics, and no light, the firm explains.
The technology can effectively detect any analyte including DNA, RNA, or proteins and convert it straight into binary code. And because the platform harnesses CMOS-produced computer chips, the cost can be brought down enough to enable point-of-care testing in a range of environments, from hospitals, laboratories, and clinics to field-based testing in both developed and developing countries.