By Will Soutter
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a Phase 2 SBIR Grant worth $498,780 to Akonni Biosystems to further advance its Lab-on-a-Film microarray consumable, which can be fabricated from an ultra-low-cost film utilizing a highly automated, reel-to-reel manufacturing process.
By using Lab-on-a-Film production technology, it is possible to fabricate mid-multiplexed microarray consumables at a very low cost. The combination of the multiplexing power of Akonni Biosystems’ gel-drop microarrays and low-cost production to concurrently analyze several disease markers in one clinical sample shows promise to significantly transform the expenses associated with disease diagnosis and patient wellness monitoring. This is a fact particularly in global health settings, where the end users’ decision in adopting a technology primarily relies on cost.
One of the potential applications for the Lab-on-a-Film consumable is its addition to the Akonni hands-free, end-to-end genetic testing system, which is now being developed for moderate-complexity lab settings. The system mainly utilizes Akonni-developed intellectual property that includes technology covering cell lysis, amplification (On-Chip PCR), thermocycling, rapid nucleic acid extraction (TruTip), and microarray analysis and imaging. Final utilization of Lab-on-a-Film consumables is expected in systems developed for use in CLIA-waved settings.
Akonni Biosystems’ Director of Engineering and Principal Investigator on the grant, Dr. Christopher Cooney stated that reel-to-reel assembly technique is a mass-production process utilized primarily for the assembly of flexible film electronics and lateral flow strips. The advantage of this production process is the possibility of high-speed automation of Lab-on-a-Film microarray manufacturing and assembly, resulting in a significant reduction in consumable costs.