NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Akonni Biosystems today announced it has been awarded a $150,000 National Science Foundation grant to evaluate a method of manufacturing microarrays that could dramatically lower the cost of doing molecular diagnostic testing.
Akonni will use the Phase I grant to assess lab-on-a-film microarray manufacturing and assembly methods. In a statement, Christopher Cooney, director of engineering at Akonni and principal investigator on the project, said the high-volume manufacturing method has been used mostly for assembling lateral flow strips and flexible film electronics.
"The benefit of this manufacturing approach is that lab-on-a-film microarray production and assembly can be automated at very high speeds, resulting in 10- to 100-fold savings in costs," he said.
Akonni cited market research stating that the number of molecular and genetics tests performed in the US is expected to reach 80 million by 2012. As those numbers climb and budgets tighten, the next technological revolutions in molecular diagnostics will have to result in substantial cost savings, Akonni said.
If the lab-on-a-film method can be done successfully for microarrays, it may result in highly multiplexed array devices for "just a few dollars," the company said.
The Frederick, Md.-based molecular diagnostics firm announced yesterday it is seeking to raise $8 million, though it did not say how the proceeds would be used.