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Harvard spinout advances technology that could make COVID-19 testing 10 times faster


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: May 12th, 2021

Rhinostics, a start-up developing innovative solutions for lab workflow, has licensed a nasal swab technology developed at Harvard University that could dramatically reduce the time and effort required for COVID-19 diagnostic testing.

Developed in a collaboration between researchers at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, the technology involves a capped swab that can be manipulated by robotic systems to allow efficient removal and transfer, as well as sample release. The researchers also created collection tubes with barcodes to allow clear sample-to-patient assignments.

Using this approach, the researchers estimate that the throughput of COVID-19 test samples in labs could be increased by a factor of 10 at the least, providing an effective solution to bottlenecks in COVID-19 diagnostics.

Richard Novak, lead staff engineer at the Wyss Institute, co-founded Rhinostics alongside HMS researcher Michael Springer. The start-up licensed the technology from HMS and the Wyss Institute through Harvard’s Office of Technology Development in accordance with the university’s commitment to the COVID-19 Technology Access Framework.

“COVID-19 has shined a light on the need for novel materials and innovation to allow laboratories to bring in more samples, faster,” says Cheri Walker, CEO of Rhinostics. “The elegant solution developed by the Harvard teams brings needed change to this segment of the laboratory workflow. We are excited to work to bring these innovations to market.”

Source: Wyss Institute

Global Licensing Terms & Agreements in Pharma, Biotech & Diagnostics is a 2,600+page research report providing comprehensive and up-to-date access to the latest licensing agreements announced in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and diagnostic sectors from 2014 through 2021. Click here for details.

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