Pressure BioSciences (PBI) has signed a collaborative research and development agreement with Florida International University (FIU) to develop a novel rape kit test method, based on its pressure cycling technology (PCT) platform.


According to Pressure BioSciences, there is a significant and urgent need for better test methods to address the national issue, as there is a current estimated backlog of 400,000 untested rape kits in the US and an estimated 180,000 new sexual assault cases annually.

Pressure BioSciences has collaborated with the university to help reduce the backlog, in addition to developing improved rape kit test method.

The partnership intends to make the new test commercially available within the next 18 months.

PBI president and CEO Richard Schumacher said: "We are excited to be working with our colleagues at FIU in the development of a "next generation" PCT-based rape kit test method.

"We believe this new method offers an important potential breakthrough in the recovery of high quality DNA from cotton swabs."

For many years, the collection of biological samples on cotton swabs for forensic analysis has been standard practice, which is very difficult, as the biological sample is frequently trapped in the swab’s cotton fibers, leading to a loss of crucial evidence.

To address this complex problem with rape kits, the new test is being developed in which the male suspect’s DNA must be isolated from a complex mixture of male and female cells.

Recently, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance have provided $80m in grants to law enforcement agencies across the country to test rape kits, prosecute cases, and support victims of sexual assault.

Pressure BioSciences develops and markets laboratory instrumentation and associated consumables to the life sciences sample preparation market.

Image: Pressure BioSciences has collaborated with Florida International University to develop rape kit test method based on PCT platform. Photo: courtesy of Photokanok/