Reaching flow cytometry milestone, Kinetic River completes Phase I SBIR grant

Jan. 31, 2018
The award funded development of the company's Arno cell-analysis technology, expanding multiparameter capabilities of flow cytometry. 

Custom flow cytometry instrumentation maker Kinetic River (Mountain View, CA) has completed a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH; Bethesda, MD). The Phase I grant was awarded to the company in 2017 by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), which fosters research focused on development of innovative biomedical diagnostic and therapeutic platforms.

Related: Kinetic River receives Phase I SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health

Flow cytometry has long been hampered by limitations in the number of concurrent fluorescent labels that can be distinguished in a cell assay. Existing workarounds all have drawbacks, from burdensome procedures used to compensate for spectral crosstalk, to the complete destruction of cells analyzed with mass spectrometry.

The SBIR award funded development of the company's Arno cell-analysis technology. The technology expands multiparameter capabilities of flow cytometry while eliminating the need for compensation, yet retains compatibility with cell sorting and a familiar workflow for the end user. Further, the simplified design reduces instrument footprint and complexity. By achieving all planned milestones, the company has paved the way for further development and commercialization of this technology.

"Performing the CD4 assay for HIV monitoring—traditionally done using four detectors—using only two detectors was the clearest demonstration yet of the power of our technology," explains Giacomo Vacca, Ph.D., president of Kinetic River. "Now that we have shown that our approach works well on live cells, we are hard at work building an analyzer capable of handling all common assays—more simply, and in a smaller footprint, than is possible with traditional machines. We are very grateful for the opportunity that was afforded us by NIGMS and the SBIR program."

The first product version planned, Arno-1, is a 14-parameter analyzer (including forward and side scatter) using two lasers, with no compensation required for overlapping fluor emission spectra. This analyzer will work with all common assays, as well as many assays of moderate complexity. A high-channel-count version of the Arno platform, Arno-2, is planned, with the ability to deliver 26 parameters using three lasers. This will be aimed at immunophenotyping and similar applications with a need for a high degree of multiplexing.

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