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NIH funds Akonni to develop nucleic acid isolation instrument

Akonni Biosystems has won $280,784 grant from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a fully automated nucleic acid isolation instrument.

With the grant, the company will initially use the sample preparation workstation to purify and isolate nucleic acid from gram-positive bacteria, including methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), streptococci and mycobacteria (such as tuberculosis), as well as from complex clinical matrices including blood and nasopharyngeal specimens.

According to a Kalorama Information 2012 report, MRSA and tuberculosis are the most common hospital-acquired infections (HAI) or nosocomial infections.

Akonni Biosystems engineering director and project principal investigator Dr Christopher Cooney said the company has developed TruTip smart consumable, for sample preparation, specifically to ease bottlenecks in genetic testing and improve quality of life.

"We plan to integrate the underlying technology of our established TruTip extraction system with our MagVor mechanical cell lysis technology," Cooney said.

"This will bring a new level of automation efficiency and cost savings for sample preparation to research labs and eventually clinical laboratories around the world.

"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, including those operating in global health settings."

The company anticipates the use of nucleic acid isolation instrument for a range of moulds and spores in the future.