Codex DNA BioXp 3200

Genomics / COVID-19

The BioXp 3200 system advanced gene assembly techniquesenable scientists to rapidly develop synthetic genomes and genome parts for research and development activities.

The ADP’s pLLD capabilities have allowed us to develop an automated calibration algorithm to determine the correct Z-height for each pipetting step. This is something we simply wouldn’t have been able to replicate in house in the 18 months it took from beginning the project to production of the first instrument.

Dr Dan Gibson, inventor of Gibson Assembly® molecular cloning methodology and Chief Technology Officer at Codex DANN

Print your own DNA – a blueprint for vaccine development

Tackling the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe requires the rapid development of new diagnostic tests, therapeutics and, importantly, vaccines. Codex DNA’s advanced gene assembly techniques are enabling scientists to rapidly develop synthetic SARS-CoV-2 genomes and genome parts for research and development activities, providing powerful tools to aid these efforts. The company’s BioXp™ 3200 system enables researchers across the globe to quickly build synthetic gene constructs in their own lab, accelerating vaccine, therapy and diagnostic assay design and delivery workflows.

 

Meeting demand for pandemic vaccine development

The origins of the BioXp 3200 system are rooted in the threat of a different viral pandemic. Dr Dan Gibson, inventor of Gibson Assembly® molecular cloning methodology and Chief Technology Officer at Codex DNA, was approached by the US government and pharmaceutical industry collaborators following the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic to design synthetic biology technologies that would enable rapid production of synthetic H1N1 viral genome constructs for the development of effective vaccines, overcoming the critical challenges of isolating infectious material and distributing it to vaccine developers. Just a few years later the H7N9 (avian flu) pandemic influenza strain emerged in China, and synthetic biology techniques were leveraged with a prototype of the BioXp 3200 system to significantly accelerate the H7N9 pandemic vaccine development process.

To achieve the throughput and precision required, the team at Codex DNA (formerly SGI-DNA) developed an automated platform, realizing that the most efficient way of supplying gene constructs across the globe was for customers to be able to generate them in their own labs. This would enable laboratories to do in a few hours or days what would take weeks or months to do manually. Laurence Warden, Codex DNA’s Vice President of Engineering and Instrumentation, explained: “We decided to undertake the entire system development project in house, creating a platform from the ground up. The one exception to this was the liquid handling components. Our protocols require a large number of liquid transfers, ranging from just three or four microliters up to 180, and we knew from experience that it would be very difficult to develop an accurate and reliable pipettor for this application.”

 

Tackling COVID-19

The BioXp 3200 system was launched in 2015 and, with a growing global install base of into the hundreds of systems, has been perfectly positioned to help labs investigating the SARS-CoV-2 virus and developing novel vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. “A unique feature of our system is that every order includes a completely custom reagent cartridge that is specific to the construct being built. Thanks to our in-house expertise and capabilities in bioinformatics, DNA design and manufacturing, it is often less than 24 hours from a customer entering their gene sequences into our online ordering portal to their reagent cartridge being shipped. This rapid turnaround time has been vital in accelerating vaccine development research in the current COVID-19 crisis, and we began receiving orders for constructs to be used in vaccine development just hours after the first SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence was published.”

 

Accelerating time to market

The Codex DNA team chose the Cavro® Air Displacement Pipettor (ADP) as the best fit for their application due to its compact design, built-in tip ejection capabilities and, crucially, pressure-based liquid level detection (pLLD). “The ADP’s pLLD capabilities have allowed us to develop an automated calibration algorithm to determine the correct Z-height for each pipetting step. This is something we simply wouldn’t have been able to replicate in house in the 18 months it took from beginning the project to production of the first instrument.”

Although the ADP had only recently been launched at the time, Codex DNA’s previous experience with Tecan liquid handling platforms and components gave them the confidence that it would be well built and reliable. “Tecan’s engineers worked with us to overcome a few challenges early in the integration process, and our test rigs have successfully completed over three times the number of runs outlined in our design specification.”

 

Added functionality for optimal system analysis and customer service

The ADP’s pressure sensing function has proved a useful analytical tool for Codex DNA, allowing the team to go back and look at the data logs if there is an issue during gene assembly. “Being able to view the pressure logs for every pipetting step allows us to check if, for example, there is a pressure spike due to a piece of foil or debris occluding a tip during aspiration.” Brian Donnelly, Chief Commercial Officer at Codex DNA, added: “This is extremely beneficial for troubleshooting, and provides opportunities to leverage machine learning algorithms to proactively support and monitor instruments based on the availability of these logs and error codes.”

 

Tackling COVID-19

The BioXp 3200 system was launched in 2015 and, with a growing global install base of into the hundreds of systems, has been perfectly positioned to help labs investigating the SARS-CoV-2 virus and developing novel vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. “A unique feature of our system is that every order includes a completely custom reagent cartridge that is specific to the construct being built. Thanks to our in-house expertise and capabilities in bioinformatics, DNA design and manufacturing, it is often less than 24 hours from a customer entering their gene sequences into our online ordering portal to their reagent cartridge being shipped. This rapid turnaround time has been vital in accelerating vaccine development research in the current COVID-19 crisis, and we began receiving orders for constructs to be used in vaccine development just hours after the first SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence was published.”

 

ADP product highlights:

  • Fully programmable pneumatic pipetting – to meet your unique application needs
  • Excellent resolution – of just 25 nl per increment (40,000 increments for 1,000 μl)
  • Broad pipetting range – from <5 to 1,000 μl
  • Process security – with integrated error handling, tip presence sensor and high resolution pressure sensing
  • Maintenance-free design – for reliable long-term operation
  • Choice of Tecan disposable tip options – 10, 50, 200 and 1,000 μl tip to match your application
  • Tip ejection mechanism – to simplify integration

 

Click here to find out more about the Cavro ADP.