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RAPid move for discovery
April 2008
by Chris Anderson  |  Email the author
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ROYSTON, U.K.—In early March, TTP LabTech announced that it was granted a perpetual license for the application of Resonant Acoustic Profiling (RAP) technology in the areas of drug discovery and life sciences by Cambridge Medical Innovations (CMI)—part of Massachusetts-based Inverness Medical Innovations (IMI). The technology is currently used in the RAPid4 instrument and, as part of the deal, TTP also acquired both finished instruments and associated sensors and consumables. Financial terms were not released.

"We have noted the change in the pharmaceutical sector and the shift of their focus toward protein-based therapeutics and in particular protein-based therapeutics to treat cancer," says Philip Blenkinsop, managing director of TTP LabTech. "Acquiring the technology and RAPid4 offers us another [tool] for protein research and one that is already on the market, so we wouldn't have to spend three years developing a product. We already know a lot of the potential customers for it and is something that fits with our existing Acumen range of products."

Resonant Acoustic Profiling (RAP) is based on resonant quartz sensor technology optimized for the detection of molecular interactions. By directly detecting molecules bound to the surface of a quartz crystal, the system enables concentration measurement and analysis of the binding events between specific molecules in complex samples that may contain solvents, serum, growth media or other impurities.

RAPid 4 is a flow-based analysis system which reduces the need to purify samples and generates accurate kinetic, affinity and concentration measurements from complex mixtures, such as blood, serum, cell culture supernatants and periplasmic extracts. A stand-alone, fully automated platform, RAPid 4 lives up to it name by processing an average of 400 samples per day.

Launched in 2006 by Akubio Ltd., which was acquired by Inverness late last year, the RAP technology has applications in a range of areas. One reason it was available to TTP LabTech was because CMI and its parent company Inverness are focused squarely on the diagnostics and point-of-care market.

"This deal firmly reflects that IMI is not interested in providing tools for drug discovery," says Matt Cooper, managing director of CMI. "Our core focus is on launching diagnostics and other products for the management of human health."

Both companies are currently involved in the technology transfer, with TTP gearing up to produce the tool at its home office and manufacturing facility here. While the manufacture of the consumables used with RAPid4 will also eventually be handled by TTP LabTech, an exact timetable of when that will happen or whether CMI would continue to manufacture the consumables in the short-term had not been established by press time.

"Our immediate intention is going to be focused on the manufacturing skills we need for RAPid4," says Blenkinsop. "Any new applications for the technology will need to wait some, but we are aware that it can also be applied for research in bacteria and viruses and we will explore those in future."
 
Code: E040809

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