Zymo Research has made a strategic investment to acquire a stake in Singapore-based biomedical technology firm Star Array to develop an automated nucleic acid extraction/superfast PCR platform.

The investment will enable Zymo Research’s nucleic acid purification and assay technologies to be integrated with Star Array’s engineering and automation expertise.

The combination will help expand into For Research Use Only (FRUO) and diagnostic markets including point-of-care testing (POCT).

Star Array is engaged in the manufacturing and marketing of several genetic analysers, including XDive, a qPCR platform, with associated kits and software.

During the Covid-19 pandemic , the firm developed a SARS-CoV-2 detection test using its XDive system.

As part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) programme, the biomedical technology firm is working through the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency use authorisation (EUA).

Zymo Research business development vice-president Marc Van Eden said: “Star Array’s powerful PCR instrumentation places them at the forefront of PCR technology with their XDive PCR system that can complete a typical 40-cycle multiplex qPCR run in five-seven minutes.

“Through our investment in Star Array we will develop products targeting POCT in the global marketplace.”

Both firms will work closely and develop ready-made cassettes which will have the necessary reagents for Star Array’s Covid-19 test kit and future POCT.

Star Array vice-president Dr Yanhui Liu said: “Zymo Research and Star Array have both built businesses at the intersection of science and technology and we share a vision of ultrafast PCR technology that will enable POC PCR tests to be analysed in just minutes in doctor’s offices, laboratories, and hospitals.”