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Automated Nucleic Acid Extraction/Superfast PCR Platform to Enable Analysis of POC PCR Tests in Minutes

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 28 Apr 2022
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Image: The XDive superfast qPCR platform (Photo courtesy of Star Array)
Image: The XDive superfast qPCR platform (Photo courtesy of Star Array)

Over the past three decades, the real-time PCR technology has revolutionized the biological science with its sensitive and reliable performances, easy-to-use and to-automate workflow, and vast range of applications. Now, this legend could become even better, i.e. faster. An automated nucleic acid extraction/superfast PCR platform for the Point-of-Care testing (POCT) market could enable POC PCR tests to be analyzed in just minutes in doctor's offices, laboratories, and hospitals.

Zymo Research (Irvine, CA, USA) has made a strategic investment to acquire an interest in Star Array (Singapore) that would allow them to combine Zymo’s nucleic acid purification and assay technologies with Star Array's engineering and automation expertise to expand into emerging For Research Use Only (FRUO) and diagnostic markets, including POCT.

Star Array's focus has been on the development of an automated (cassette-based) nucleic acid purification system coupled with its superfast nucleic acid amplification technology. It manufactures and markets various genetic analyzers including XDive, a superfast qPCR platform, with related kits and software. During the COVID-19 outbreak, Star Array developed a test for SARS-CoV-2 detection utilizing its XDive system. The entire process from sample-to-answer takes less than 45 minutes and the system can be used in any clinical environment. Star Array is currently working through the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) process with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Zymo, which is well known for its DNA/RNA extraction and assay technologies, will be partnering with Star Array to develop ready-made cassettes containing the necessary reagents for Star Array's COVID-19 test kit as well as future POCT.

"Star Array's powerful PCR instrumentation places them at the forefront of PCR technology with their XDive PCR system that can complete a typical 40-cycle multiplex qPCR run in 5-7 minutes. When coupled with Star Array's system, Zymo Research's DNA/RNA purification reagents and nucleic acid-based assays will facilitate a straightforward Sample-In/Answer-Out workflow. Through our investment in Star Array we will develop products targeting POCT in the global marketplace," said Marc Van Eden, Vice President of Business Development at Zymo Research.

"Zymo Research and Star Array have both built businesses at the intersection of science and technology and we share a vision of ultrafast PCR technology that will enable POC PCR tests to be analyzed in just minutes in doctor's offices, laboratories, and hospitals. Together we strive to build even more POCT products in the future," said Dr. Yanhui Liu, Vice President of Star Array Pte. Ltd.

Related Links:
Zymo Research 
Star Array 

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