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LLNL Seeks Partner for Fast PCR Instrument

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is offering the opportunity to license intellectual property for a new Fast PCR Instrument technology for commercialization.

The invention is a microfluidic PCR thermal cycling method capable of extremely fast cycles, and a resulting extremely fast detection time. The technology utilizes a robust, stable and precise temperature control system to cycle the DNA microchip at heating and cooling rates greater than 45° C per second without overshoot or undershoot.

RT-PCR is the “gold standard” for fast and efficient nucleic acid analysis and detection. Current benchtop and robotic-based PCR systems are limited in their ability to become the next generation of handheld devices due to their size, speed, complexity and reliance on heating technologies with much less precision and accuracy. This system has the potential to compete on performance, speed, portability, cost and simplicity.

Reducing the time required for pathogen characterization and detection is critical for clinical diagnoses. There is an urgent need for fieldable, high speed, high throughput, pathogen-specific detection.

The architecture is both compact, and allows for optical interrogation, resulting in a field-portable, extremely fast real-time PCR system. The technology is described in The Analyst: Under-three minute PCR: Probing the limits of fast amplification.

It is estimated that with this method, target nucleic acid templates approaching 1 Kb in length can be amplified under five minutes. These technologies are currently being prototyped at LLNL.

The technology available from LLNL allows extremely rapid thermal cycling, which will enable PCR analysis times to decrease from approximately 1 hour to sub-5 minutes. The change will enable whole new assays and applications. The simplicity of the heat transfer arrangement provides precise and accurate thermal control superior to current technologies, and eliminates the non-uniform temperature distributions described in the literature for commercial thermal cyclers.

LLNL is seeking industry partners with a demonstrated ability to bring such inventions to the market.

Please visit LLNL’s IPO website for more information on working with LLNL and the industrial partnering and technology transfer process.

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