Year: 2012-13

Company: Life Tech

Liaison(s): Ravi Gupta, Bob Kays

Life Technologies is a global biotechnology tools company formed in 2008 through the merger of Invitrogen and Applied Biosystems. The company supplies instrumentation, consumables and services to laboratories working across the biological spectrum. By focusing on supplying innovative technologies that drive the advancement of medicine, molecular diagnostics, environmental research, and forensics, Life Technologies hopes to improve the human condition. Currently, Life Technologies is one of the leading suppliers of DNA testing systems to forensic laboratories. To maintain market leader status in the forensics and human identification market, the company is interested in expanding its product line to include rapid integrative DNA processing systems. This new technology gives personnel with limited training the ability to generate DNA profiles outside of a centralized laboratory. Although there are many theoretical benefits to decentralized rapid DNA profiling, the market need for this new technology has not been verified. The Keck Graduate Institute’s Team Master’s Project (TMP) team was sponsored by Life Technologies to validate the needs of the potential market for rapid and decentralized DNA testing. To accomplish this objective, the TMP team investigated the current forensic DNA testing market and was able to identify key challenges with the existing workflow that rapid DNA profiling could address. Additionally, the team examined the forensic chain of custody for DNA profile generation and utilization in the justice system and identified the challenges to adoption of decentralized rapid DNA profiling. Finally, recommendations regarding the potential viability of the rapid and decentralized DNA testing market were made to Life Technologies to assist with the business decision to pursue or abandon this market.