The plan is to fully automate the entire laboratory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing process for COVID-19. The two companies are working to combine and validate the Genedrive 96 SARS-CoV-2 Kit on the Biomek i7 automated workstation with saliva samples extracted using Beckman Coulter's RNAdvance viral extraction chemistry.
Once validated, Beckman Coulter estimates that this new turnkey solution could process around 1,000 PCR samples per Biomek installed during a standard eight-hour working day, overseen by a lab technician for the equivalent of half a working day.
Genedrive has already completed an initial evaluation of Beckman Coulter's RNA extraction chemistry to confirm compatibility with the Genedrive 96 SARS-CoV-2 test. Further work is ongoing to validate clinical saliva samples.
Beckman's RNAdvance Viral XP has already been listed as an extraction method for swab samples for use with the Centers for Disease Control's EUA-authorised COVID-19 test in the US Food and Drug Administration’s frequently asked questions (FAQ) on testing for SARS-CoV-2.
In a statement, David Budd, the chief executive officer of genedrive, said it has been the group's focus to work with a “top tier, high throughput lab automation partner” such as Beckman to drive uptake of its testing kits.
“The combination of our ready to use chemistry with robotics and on-board RNA extraction would give laboratories a unique and rapid workflow that can achieve impressive throughput and result turnaround times,” Budd added.
"The integration of Beckman Coulter Life Sciences' and genedrive's technologies produces a formidable workhorse solution for specialised laboratories looking to establish new or next level laboratory automation with labour cost reduction,” said Beckman Coulter’s Greg Milosevich.
“Our ability to fully integrate the RNA extraction process on the Biomek while simultaneously preparing the plates for analysis is a critical step forward in advancing COVID testing workflows,” he added.
Both companies are working to have the ongoing validation completed in around six weeks, with the initial introduction in the USA at an already identified clinical laboratory.
Shares in genedrive were up 15% at 82p in early deals.