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Vela Diagnostics, Eppendorf Developing Sample Prep System for MDx Platform

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Singapore-based Vela Diagnostics said this week that it has inked an agreement with Eppendorf to jointly develop an automated RNA/DNA extraction platform for Vela's forthcoming molecular diagnostics system.

Under the agreement, VelaDx and Eppendorf scientists and engineers have customized Eppendorf's epMotion benchtop liquid-handling system with features exclusive to VelaDx's Sentosa real-time PCR-based detection platform.

The new extraction platform, called the Sentosa SX, is designed to provide greater workflow efficiency and IT connectivity while minimizing potential errors and cross-contamination that may arise from manual set-up processes, VelaDx said.

"The new customized hardware and software on the Sentosa system will enhance workflow efficiency in laboratories and improve sample traceability," VelaDx CEO Michael Tillmann said in a statement.

Founded in the spring of 2011, VelaDx emerged from stealth mode earlier this month when it announced that it was developing Sentosa, a fully automated molecular diagnostics platform featuring real-time PCR-based detection, a technology for which it will be announcing a licensing agreement in coming weeks, according to a company spokesperson. The system is able to simultaneously carry out four different assays per run, the company said.

VelaDx is developing more than 30 molecular tests for its system in areas such as microbiology, oncology, and respiratory disease. The company said that it is currently transitioning certain test kits to the production and quality control testing stages, and that it plans to commercialize its first kits in select Asian and European markets in the third quarter of this year.

VelaDx said that it also plans to seek regulatory approval for its platform and assays in the US and other markets, but has not provided a timeline for this initiative.

"Our automated workflow will enable hospitals and labs to handle a broader range of tests on a single platform," Tillmann said in a statement. "Lab professionals will be able to do more, faster, but with less complexity and higher efficiency."

The privately held company is headquartered in Singapore and has a European office in Hamburg, Germany; and a North American office in Fairfield, NJ. VelaDx currently employs more than 80 people.

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