Semiconductor technology has been at the heart of multiple DNA sequencing systems under development. Chris Toumazou, a veteran of the mobile phone industry, has been one of the forces behind biomedical applications of silicon chips and other mainstays of the IT realm.
Bio-IT World's Kevin Davies chronicles Toumazou's progression from the mobile phone industry to the DNA analysis game in a recent article. The story brings us up to speed with Toumazou's company, DNA Electronics, which has developed a handheld diagnostic device called the SNP-DR that couples semiconductor techology with biochemistry. The device analyzes samples such as saliva to detect gene variants and provides a test result within 15-30 minutes, according to the article. Jonathan Rothberg, the founder of DNA sequencing firms 454 and Ion Torrent, has licensed Toumazou's technology.
Toumazou's work is a prime example of the convergence of multiple disciplines to solve biomedical problems, a major theme of projects throughout the life sciences industry. That the convergence wave has hit the world of sequencing makes perfect sense, as the hunt for faster and cheaper ways to decode DNA has attracted inventors and entrepreneurs from the worlds of chemistry, computer sciences, physics and electrical engineering.
"I looked at the billions we'd invested in making low power chips for communication and thought, if we can just apply a fraction of that technology to the healthcare problem, we could make a difference," Toumazou told Bio-IT World.
His company's SNP-DR system aced a test last year with patents' genotype samples from Pfizer ($PFE), according to the report. If the device can continue to prove that it's accurate and useful to developers, it could become a handy clinical research tool and point-of-care diagnostic.
- check out the article from Bio-IT World