KGI Spinoff ClaremontBio Issued Key Patent for its DNA Sample Preparation Technology
The US Patent and Trademark Office recently issued a foundational patent to KGI spin-off enterprise Claremont BioSolutions for its SimplePrepTM micromotor‐based rapid sample preparation technology. The patent, US 8,663,974, covers devices that are used to prepare samples for DNA analysis using low-cost vibration motors that are repurposed from the cell phone industry.
"This technology is the first real advance in the sample prep industry that has largely relied on decades-old methods and devices since the 1980's," Claremont BioSolutions CEO Gary Blackburn said.
The miniature motors provide mechanical energy necessary to disrupt cell membranes of any cell type, even hard to lyse cells such as bacterial spores. The patent also describes similar devices that incorporate ceramic beads to both aid the lysis process and extract and purify the DNA/RNA released from the cells. The patented cartridges can be disposable and produce purified nucleic acids in less than five minutes.
Blackburn said the company expected to use the devices "in collaborations with diagnostics companies that want to incorporate a reliable, rapid, and inexpensive sample prep technology into point-of-care (POC) consumable cartridges." He added that the devices were "also attracting interest among companies that desire to implement tissue homogenization processing on robotic liquid handler platforms."
Claremont BioSolutions is a privately held, emerging-growth technology company that was founded by three KGI faculty members: KGI VP of Academic Affairs Jim Sterling, Robert Doebler (now president of ClaremontBio) and Ali Nadim, now a professor of mathematics at Claremont Graduate University (CGU). The company specializes in disposable devices that provide solutions to what is recognized as the "bottleneck" of DNA diagnostics, sample preparation, and has commercialized several single-use devices for lysing cells, extracting and purifying nucleic acid, and homogenizing tissue.
"We are developing a simple instrument that will process up to eight cartridges simultaneously in less than five minutes, with each cartridge delivering the purified DNA to an Eppendorf tube, ready for analysis," Doebler said. "Our customers are surprised that sample prep can be so simple and rapid, especially in a completely disposable device that doesn't require a centrifuge or any other lab equipment -just a AAA battery pack and a pipette or syringe is all that is required."