Takara launches lentivirus test using smartphone app

Takara Bio USA, Inc. (TBUSA, formerly Clontech Laboratories, Inc.) teamed up with smartphone diagnostics specialists, Novarum DX, to develop an integrated, mobile platform which detects and quantifies recombinant lentivirus in packaging cell supernatants.

Novarum’s next generation diagnostic technology transforms a smartphone into a test reader to rapidly deliver accurate results without the need for large or expensive instrumentation.

Working with Novarum, TBUSA developed a new Lenti-X GoStix Plus app which is used in conjunction with the company’s Lenti-X GoStix Plus lateral flow test. The GoStix cassette detects the presence of lentiviral p24 protein, and titer is quantified using a smartphone camera.

Lentiviral vectors have proven to be powerful tools for stable gene transfer to both dividing and non-dividing cells in vitro and in vivo. Until now, tests for measuring lentivirus titer were complicated and convoluted, it could take several hours to days, depending on the method used, to deliver only a single quantitative result. Applying Novarum’s patented image capture technology now enables Takara Bio’s rapid tests to provide accurate, quantitative lentivirus titers in only ten minutes with virtually no effort.

The Lenti-X GoStix Plus app provides intuitive step by step instructions, including alarm and timer features, to ensure tests are performed correctly. Up to four tests can be run simultaneously, using a single ten minute timer, and the results are scanned sequentially. QR codes, labelled on the GoStix foil pouches, can also be scanned to identify lot numbers for facilitating batch calibration and quantification.

Baz Smith, Associate Director, Gene Function Marketing at TBUSA, said “Takara Bio is committed to doing good science that supports biotechnology research around the world. Working with Novarum, our pioneering Lenti-X GoStix Plus app has been successfully launched on both GooglePlay and the AppStore, for Android and Apple devices, respectively. We’re proud of the positive feedback and the app store ratings we’ve already received from early adopters of our ground-breaking technology.”

Novarum was acquired by BBI Solutions, who reported on this story, in 2016. Novarum has revolutionised diagnostics by transforming a smartphone into a test reader. The results of disposable tests for toxicology, infectious or auto-immune disease are accurately read and shared securely through a dedicated portal, which is accessible online.

Dr Neil Polwart, founder of Novarum and BBI Group Head of Mobile, said “Our team has worked alongside Takara Bio to create a lateral flow reader and mobile app which enhances lentivirus testing. It’s incredibly exciting to witness how our next-generation technology is challenging the accepted norms with improved efficiency and innovation.”

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