Grand Challenges grant, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, seeks a novel sample preparation technology to become a “universal method” for Low and Middle Income Countries

FREDERICK, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–June 6, 2017–

Akonni Biosystems, a molecular diagnostics (MDx) company that develops, manufactures, and intends to market advanced MDx systems, today announced it was chosen as one of the recipients for a Grand Challenges grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant highlights the current unmet need for an affordable, effective sample preparation technology that can serve as a reliable front-end for nucleic acid purification from a variety of targets and sample types. This award reinforces Akonni’s position as a major contender in the $1 billion global sample preparation market – a critical component of Akonni’s corporate objectives – and complements another recently awarded NIH contract for sample preparation.

Under the grant, the Gates Foundation will evaluate the suitability of Akonni’s proprietary TruTip low-cost sample preparation technology to meet the needs for adoption in resource-poor settings (e.g. efficiency, ease of use and affordability). To do so, Akonni has been tasked with demonstrating the effectiveness of their technology by isolating DNA/RNA from a panel of blinded samples (containing bacteria and/or virus) prepared by PATH, an international nonprofit and leader in global health innovation. The resulting DNA/RNA will be evaluated by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reference laboratory. The grant will fund the TruTip nucleic acid extraction of the blinded samples in three panels (blood, sputum, and stool). Akonni will have approximately two weeks to complete the extractions and send the extracted nucleic acid to the US CDC reference laboratory.

“We are very excited for this opportunity to work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” said Michael Reinemann, Director of Business Development for Akonni. “Akonni has spent several years and millions of dollars advancing the product development of our proprietary sample preparation technologies, and developing effective procedures for a wide range of relevant targets and sample types. We now have robust data that demonstrates excellent performance, even in the most challenging sample types like blood, sputum and stool, with a universal approach that is low-cost and very easy to use.” Akonni hopes that this challenge grant will result in further collaboration with the Gates foundation, allowing continued advancement and wider distribution of its effective and affordable solutions for sample preparation.

For more information visit: www.akonni.com.

About Akonni Biosystems

Akonni Biosystems was founded in 2003 and has 17 US and 24 International issued patents primarily covering sample preparation, microfluidic devices, bio-instrumentation, and integrated systems. Product development has been supported by a series of government grants and contracts from NIH, CDC, DOE, DOD, NIJ, and NSF. The company significantly advanced the original technology by improving the system’s capabilities from sample preparation to test result. Commercial products in Akonni’s near-term pipeline include rapid sample preparation technologies for nucleic acid extraction and multiplex panel assays for detecting clinically relevant genotypes for pharmacogenomics, human chronic diseases (i.e. cancer and neurodegenerative), and genotypes for infectious diseases such as multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), upper respiratory infections, viral encephalitis, and hospital-acquired infections (MRSA).

Akonni Biosystems
Michael Reinemann, Director of Business Development
301-698-0101
mreinemann@akonni.com