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Tecan and RevoluGen Enter into Agreement for 96-well Plates for Use in Automated Fire Monkey HMW-DNA Extraction Kits Ideal for Scalable DNA Sequencing

Hadfield, UK – 11 November 2022 – UK genomics company, RevoluGen Ltd. is pleased to announce its agreement with Tecan, a pioneer and global leader in laboratory automation, for the manufacturing and supply of Tecan’s 96-well filter plates to be used in RevoluGen’s automated Fire Monkey™ High Molecular Weight (HMW)-DNA extraction kits.  

Automated DNA extraction using these specialized 96-well plates, which incorporate the proprietary Fire Monkey extraction technology and are optimised for use on Tecan’s small desktop footprint Resolvex® A200 positive pressure automation robot, speeds up and simplifies the preparatory workflow needed for high throughput of both short and long read DNA sequencing applications, ultimately reducing costs.

Shang Tsai, head of marketing for the SP division at Tecan said, “We are pleased to be Revolugen’s partner of choice for the supply of the 96-well plates optimised to work on our instruments for automated DNA extraction. Rapid growth of sequencing worldwide is driving the need for automation to handle the volume of samples needed for applications such as population genomics, epidemiological mutation screening and antibiotic microbial resistance gene monitoring research.”

The two companies started to work together in 2020 to validate an automated DNA extraction workflow, the critical first step in the DNA sequencing workflow.

“We are delighted that our collaboration with Tecan has been successful. The 96-well plate supply agreement announced today is a culmination of two years' successful development of one of the first automated extraction of library ready, HMW-DNA in a laboratory standard format multi-well plate,” said Pieter Haitsma Mulier, CEO of Revolugen.

Following optimisation of the multi-well plates in RevoluGen’s R&D laboratories, this agreement is the final step to enable the commercial launch of an automated version of the very successful Fire Monkey HMW-DNA extraction kits for high sample number applications, with availability expected early 2023.

Dr Georgios Patsos, inventor of the Fire Monkey technology and CSO at RevoluGen said, “With traditional manual protocols only a handful of biological samples can be processed in parallel.  This is a significant issue for the multiplexed sequencing runs routinely used in areas such as antimicrobial resistance surveillance. Our validated Fire Monkey process for automated HMW-DNA extraction will further lower the overall cost of multiplexed sequencing and accelerate the uptake of sequencing in many high-volume dependent applications.”

RevoluGen’s patent-protected technology is derived from a spin-column based protocol to extract HMW-DNA using a high g-force but which does not break down the long and fragile DNA molecules as much as standard spin-column technologies. Fire Monkey produces DNA fragments of an average 100kb in length that are not too short and not too long and are found to be in a relatively tightly defined range of lengths. The Fire Monkey extract has so few small fragments that separate size selection steps are usually not required and so few very long fragments that separate fragmentation steps are also generally not required. This selectivity improves the overall sequencing results by not wasting as much sequencing resources on either reading the less useful small fragments or blocking the pores or wells with fragments that are too long.

The Fire Monkey technology can also be size tuned into producing DNA fragments in very tight bands of smaller lengths below its standard 100kb average DNA extract length. This tuning can be dialled down to produce the average DNA extract length most suitable for optimal throughput performance of all sequencing technologies.

In addition to the benefits brought about through automation, Fire Monkey technology unites sample preparation for both short-read and long-read DNA sequencing by providing flexibility to revisit the same original sample for more detailed long-read sequencing after a first run with lower cost short-read sequencing. This can reduce sample handling and storage significantly by only needing to do one extraction rather than two for producing hybrid assemblies cost effectively.

The first Tecan A200  has already been successfully installed at the Quadram Institute Bioscience (QIB), a leading UK research Institute, to run the Fire Monkey automated HMW DNA extraction workflow where it is being used across two high volume bacterial sequencing projects in pathogen persistence and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) monitoring applications, including a project in collaboration with UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Dr Gemma Langridge, a Group Leader at Quadram, said, “With the automation using the A200/Fire Monkey combination we have been able to prep tens of bacterial isolates at a time. This increases our research capacity and capability quite dramatically.”

The DNA sequencing market is currently predicted to grow from $7bn to some $50bn over the next 10 years

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Last Updated: 11-Nov-2022