Molecular diagnostic platforms firm Akonni Biosystems won a $280,784 grant from the NIH to fund development of a fully automated benchtop sample preparation system for isolating nucleic acids from lysis-resistant bacteria, such as Gram-positive staphylococci, streptococci, and mycobacteria, in complex clinical samples. The aim is to develop a system for research and eventually clincial use, that will provide a quicker, more efficient way to isolate nucleic acids for use in diagnosis, screening, and drug resistance/susceptibility testing.

Akonni is developing a suite of systems, kits, and reagents based on its multiplexed TruArray® gel-drop array technology. The firm already offers TruArrays for applications in nucleic acid testing, antibody immobilization for multiplexed immunoassays, peptide, enzyme and small molecule immobilization for drug discovery and spectroscopic studies, and cell or cell lysate immobilization for cellular and drug discovery applications.

The product family includes the TruTip kits for DNA and/or RNA extraction, which Akonni claims can generate inhibitor-free, PCR-ready nucleic acids in just four minutes, and is compatible with a range of automated systems (incuding the Hamilton Microlab®Star, and Eppendorf epMotion®), as well as on-demand solutions using single or multichannel pipettors, and OEM systems.

The latest NIH funding will support development of a new nucleic acid extraction platform that integrates the TruTip extraction technology with Akonni’s MagVor mechanical cell lysis system. “This new platform will be compatible with a simple-to-use consumable kit and will be capable of purifying nucleic acid from 12 samples in less than 20 minutes, making it valuable to a broad range of molecular and hospital laboratories,” states Christopher Cooney, Ph.D., director of engineering at Akonni.

The grant award comes less than a month after Akonni confirmed winning a a $498,780 Phase 2 SBIR Grant from the National Science Foundation to support continued development of its lab-on-a-film microarray consumable that can be manufactured using an highly automated, reel-to-reel production process.

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