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USPTO Issues Second Patent To Micronics On Rapid Thermocycling Methodology

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a second letters patent to Micronics for an integrated heat exchange system on a disposable, plastic cartridge. The company said that the new patent has broad utility across the life sciences sector with particular application in point of care molecular diagnostics.

Reportedly, ’835 case is related to an earlier patent, US Patent No 7,544,506, issued to Micronics. The devices of these patents make it possible to perform PCR or rtPCR in a fraction of the time of commercial systems in use today. In Micronics’ molecular diagnostic devices, all reagents required for a diagnostic test are incorporated into the disposable cartridge.

The patent, entitled “System and method for heating, cooling and heat cycling on a microfluidic device,” is US Patent No 7,648,835 (the ’835 case). The newly issued patent identifies the use of exothermic or endothermic material in reservoirs that are contained within an integrated disposable plastic cartridge. Once the chemical process of the reservoir material is activated, the reservoir provides heating or cooling to specific locations on the cartridge.

Additionaly, multiple reservoirs may be included in a cartridge to provide varying temperatures. Micronics is employing this technology in the development of disposable cartridges for performance of a complete polymerase chain reaction (PCR) temperature cycle in less than 15 seconds.

Furthermore, the company is advancing a point of care molecular diagnostic platform, called the PanNAT system, that employs disposable cartridges and a small, lightweight, easy to operate instrument. Using microfluidics, the company is able to substantially reduce the volumes of sample and reagents required to produce a test result, generally within a fraction of the time and cost that traditional reference lab and bench top methods require.