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Akonni Biosystems Scores $3M NIH Grant for POC Dx Platform, Drug-Resistant TB Assay

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Akonni Biosystems announced today it has been awarded a three-year, $3 million Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Akonni said it will use the funding to accelerate commercialization of an assay for extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis and simultaneous drug susceptibility testing called TruArray that uses on-slide PCR within a microarray chamber. The company will also further develop the assay on its fully integrated point-of-care molecular diagnostics platform, the TruDx 3000. 

Akonni manufactures TruTip sample preparation technology as well as TruDiagnosis multiplexed diagnostics solutions. The Akonni XDR-TB test on the TruDx 3000 also includes an automated method of extracting DNA from sputum and a proprietary "lab-on-a-film" diagnostic consumable. This consists of molecular sensors printed on a conventional plastic film, enabling inexpensive microfluidics that can be rapidly assembled using a newspaper printing production method known as reel-to-reel manufacturing.

Last year Akonni raised $4 million in bridge financing from its current investors, secured $300,000 in research funding from the NIH for development of the TB assay, as well as $225,000 to develop a diagnostic for lower respiratory tract infections in children. Earlier this year the firm signed an exclusive two-way licensing deal with Chinese in vitro diagnostics company Righton that included distribution of Akonni's products in China.

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