It’s here where you’ll experience some of our more highly multi-disciplinary projects. To excel in this field we’ve drawn on a cocktail of specialist skills: our combined knowledge of fluidics and liquid handling; novel dispensing technologies; thermal systems; systems hardware; and high-volume consumables expertise. Our activity ranges from laboratory instrumentation to consumable platforms, and from nucleic acid-based diagnostics to sample preparation.
The Sample Preparation Unit (SPU) can extract and purify nucleic acid for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and subsequent detection. It is designed to allow simple, fast, comprehensive and accurate testing of samples (from solid tissue to fluids), for a variety of animal diseases.
Bio-Seeq is a trade mark of Smiths Detection.
The tests can be carried out in the field by veterinarians or other technicians without the time consuming procedure of sending samples to a central laboratory.
To meet the challenging specification for the SPU, a multi-disciplinary approach was required. While Smiths Detection provided the biochemistry, TTP was selected for its innovation and high-quality product-engineering skills.
Close collaboration between these teams enabled the creation of a consumable that can extract and purify nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) from various samples such as blood, milk, vesicular tissue, faeces and swabs, which is then put through the PCR cycle prior to optical detection.
The plug-in reagent pack contains the assay-specific reagents for the target disease, whilst the barcode ensures that the assay sequence is automatically selected by the instrument, rather than the user manually having to select the correct test from a list.
IDEXX have a lateral flow assay platform that can be applied to a broad range of tests, but it needs to be “machine read” for the maximum amount of quantitative information to be gleaned. TTP worked with IDEXX to develop a new cost reduced instrument platform to read the tests. The result is the SnapShot DX, a low-cost, easy to use, POC diagnostics instrument for the veterinary healthcare market.
The instrument incorporates a LED-/CCD-based vision system that provides quantitative and qualitative data from a lateral flow immunoassay test device. Our expertise in optical design and vision algorithms has enabled this simple, compact, and low-cost illumination and imaging system for reading the assay, without sacrificing performance and flexibility.
The SnapShot DX offers radical improvements over the first generation product in terms of usability, flexibility, reliability and ease of manufacture. It also provides a platform for future commercialisation of new diagnostic tests.
TTP's combination of optical design skills and instrument engineering expertise allows us to develop turnkey solutions for the instrumentation markets. We deliver instruments that offer higher levels of performance, reduced size, lower cost and improved ease of use.
Working with Atlas Genetics, we made this point of care, nucleic acid based diagnostic instrument a reality. The Atlas io Reader®, is designed to operate a test-specific cartridge. It fully automates a three stage process of DNA extraction and purification, amplification, and electrochemical detection - automating a complex laboratory process.
The operator simply adds a sample to the cartridge, inserts it into the reader, and follows the on-screen commands.
One of the many constraints on the design was the need to achieve a compact footprint - a requirement that left us with formidable challenges in packaging the fluidic and thermal management systems.
In response, we drew on skills as diverse as fluidics, pneumatic engineering, and software to develop this leading diagnostics instrument. But we didn’t just finish there. In addition to the development work, we successfully transferred the instrument to manufacturing in Germany.
Achieving multiple interfaces (force, pneumatic, thermal, electronic) between instrument and cartridge.
Effecting a short, accurate and repeatable PCR temperature cycle.
Realising form factor acceptable to healthcare professionals.
Hitting tough cost targets.
These therapies are demonstrating enormous potential to save lives but without new technology they will never make it out of R&D.
TTP is bringing together its cell biology expertise and skills in low cost, intelligent system design to create new technologies such as a cell therapy manufacturing platform that will provide a consistent, safe product, whilst achieving a cost of goods that is commercially viable.
TTP has been enabling advances in cell biology though its ability to combine challenging engineering and complex science for over 25 years, spinning out companies such as The Automation Partnership (TAP, now part of Sartorius) along the way.
In this fast moving space, success will ultimately depend on getting the right partnership. Only then will we realise the potential of these therapies to revolutionise the treatment of patients worldwide.
Illustration of a T cell attacking a cancer cell
Clean-Trace® is a user-friendly ATP (adenosine triphosphate) surface hygiene test for Biotrace International, a 3M company.
The product is based on the measurement of ATP, which is present in all animal, vegetable, bacteria, yeast and mould cells. Its detection indicates the presence of contamination by any one of these sources.
Clean food preparation environments are critical to public health.
Previously, diagnostics for determining the presence of harmful bacteria were difficult to use and bulky.
TTP developed the Clean-Trace for Biotrace as a solution to these issues. It is a self-contained, simple ‘pen-like’ device that contains all the necessary reagents to determine whether surfaces and equipment are sufficiently clean.
The test is read in a Biotrace luminometer that provides a printout of results/data capture in less than a minute.
Rapid results, available in a minute, allowing corrective action to be taken immediately.
Measures levels of contamination by ATP bioluminescence.
Simple and easy to use.
The unique liquid-stable enzyme test offers unparalleled levels of accuracy and reproducibility.
Suitable for use in a variety of applications including food manufacturing, processing and catering; hospitals; and life sciences and pharmaceutical industries.
Drawing on decades of microfluidics expertise, TTP has partnered with Thermo Fisher in the development and engineering of next generation work flow automation technology. This highly integrated device will automate many of the formerly laborious laboratory tasks.
Hopefully these case studies have shown you just a little of what a collaboration with TTP can achieve, from the creation of powerful and ground-breaking new products and solutions, through to their development and manufacture.
We believe it’s a uniquely visionary approach to Life Science that can help our partners harness – and commercialise – the power of a great idea.
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