21 Dec, 2021
First Automated System Using Fire Monkey HMW-DNA Extraction Installed at Quadram Institute for Pathogen Sequencing and AMR Monitoring

London, UK – 21 December 2021 – UK genomics company, RevoluGen Ltd. (RevoluGen or the Company), today announces that it will transfer an automated Fire Monkey (FM) system robot to Quadram Institute Biosciences (QIB), a leading UK research Institute, to enable automation of High Molecular Weight (HMW) DNA extraction across two high volume bacterial sequencing projects in pathogen persistence and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) monitoring.

RevoluGen has invested over 12 months in automating its Fire Monkey HMW DNA extraction into a standard 96 well filter plate format, the world’s first automated extraction of library-ready HMW DNA. The extraction protocol has been validated to extract and purify DNA from bacterial samples, and the collaboration with Quadram is the Company’s first customer roll-out.

The automated Fire Monkey HMW DNA extraction will support QIB’s long-read DNA sequencing programs based on high quality hybrid assemblies initially across two key projects: the first will be processing Salmonella samples collected by a UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) lab; and the second will be processing Salmonella and Campylobacter samples from the Norfolk area looking at antimicrobial resistance (AMR) amongst other things.

The organisations have been working together for over two and a half years across a number of DNA sequencing projects1,2,3 and RevoluGen is industrial partner in a joint PhD studentship grant awarded to Quadram earlier this year4. This new collaboration will see RevoluGen loan its semi-automated Tecan Resolvex A200 machine to QIB and supply Fire Monkey filters plates and chemicals. Tecan be responsible for installation and maintenance.

Dr Gemma Langridge, a Group Leader at Quadram, who has been an early adopter of RevoluGen’s FM technology said, “With the automation by RevoluGen we will be able to prep tens of bacterial isolates at a time. This increases our research capacity and capability quite dramatically. We look forward to further expanding our relationship with RevoluGen to explore the role of its technology in metagenomic analysis and to explore the wider benefits of automation.”

RevoluGen’s patent-protected technology is derived from a spin-column based protocol to extract HMW-DNA using a high g-force that does not break the long and fragile DNA molecules. Fire Monkey produces DNA fragments that are not too short and not too long for the long-read sequencing technologies. This size tuned DNA fragment extract improves the overall sequencing results from the technologies by not wasting sequencing resources on either reading the less useful small fragments or killing the reading technology parts by jamming the reading pores or wells with fragments that are too long. 

“HMW DNA extraction is the critical first step in the DNA sequencing workflow. Rapid growth of sequencing worldwide has driven the need for automation to handle the volume of samples needed for applications such as population genomics, epidemiological mutation screening and antibiotic microbial resistance gene monitoring. Gemma and the teams at Quadram are undertaking world-leading projects in DNA sequencing and pathogen genomics, and we are excited to roll-out out the first automated Fire Monkey HMW DNA kits with them” said Dr Georgios Patsos, inventor of the Fire Monkey technology and CSO at RevoluGen.

Currently every sequencing run requires each DNA sample to be extracted individually. A validated and automated Fire Monkey process for multiplexed automated HMW-DNA extraction will further lower the overall cost of sequencing and thus accelerate the uptake of sequencing in many high-volume dependent applications. 

Further optimisation of the multi-well filter plates is ongoing in RevoluGen’s R&D laboratories with full commercial launch of the automated Fire Monkey HMW-DNA extraction kit anticipate in 2022.

The DNA sequencing market is currently predicted to grow from $4bn to some $50bn over the next 10 years. 

“Automation represents a game-changing differentiator and will allow us to rapidly scale sequencing at a lower cost per unit. Now that we have validated the automated protocol and have our first installed base, we believe that Fire Monkey is poised to become the DNA extraction technology of choice for high volume applications. Our technology unites short-read and long-read sequencing, enabling both from the same sample. It provides flexibility to revisit the same original sample for more detailed long-read sequencing after a first run with cheaper short-read sequencing” added RevoluGen CEO, Pieter Haitsma Mulier.

  1. Characterization of a pESI-like plasmid and analysis of multidrug-resistant Salmonella enterica Infantis isolates in England and Wales, Winnie W Y Lee et al, Microbial Genomics. Volume 7, Issue 10, 2021
  2. Emergence of Resistance to Fluoroquinolones and Third-Generation Cephalosporins in Salmonella Typhi in Lahore, Pakistan, Rasheed F et al, Microorganisms 8 (9) 1336, 2020
  3. Emergence of ciprofloxacin heteroresistance in foodborne Salmonella enterica serovar Agona, Zhang CZ et al, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkaa288, 2020
  4. https://quadram.ac.uk/vacancies/a-long-sequence-read-high-throughput-bacterial-sequencing-langridge_q21dart/ 

Dr Gemma Langridge’s research group at Quadram Institute, Norwich
© Quadram Institute