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TTP plc Desktop Biology Enables Development and Manufacture of DnaNudge Technology

Novel multiplex technology developed to help consumers make healthier choices based on their genetic profile

by TTP Plc
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CAMBRIDGE, UK —  TTP plc (TTP), a leading independent technology and product development company, today announced that its Desktop Biologyservice has enabled the fast-track development of a novel technology in partnership with DnaNudge Ltd, the developer of the world’s first DNA-based service to “nudge” consumers towards genetically optimal buying behavior. The technology is designed to help consumers make healthier food and drink choices based on their unique genetic profile.

NudgeBox and DNA Cartridge TTP plc's its Desktop Biology™ service has enabled the fast-track development of a novel technology in partnership with DnaNudge Ltd.Credit: TTP plc and DnaNudgeThe DnaNudge experience provides the consumer with personalized product recommendations suited to their individual genetic makeup, delivered through a wearable device or a mobile app, to enable the individual to choose between options from a specific product family (e.g. biscuits) resulting in a “nudge” towards a heathier lifestyle. A key enabler of this is the NudgeBox and DnaCartridge, which extracts and amplifies DNA from a customer cheek swab, providing an individual genetic report based on assessment of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The genetic information is subsequently cross-referenced against a database that matches the nutritional values of manufactured food products with genetic characteristics.

TTP, in partnership with DnaNudge Ltd, played a key role in the development of the NudgeBox and DNA Cartridge from the initial market vision through to feasibility, prototyping, and small-scale manufacture. The NudgeBox enables a complex biological workflow and analysis to be undertaken in a consumer environment. TTP has manufactured an early run of instruments and has established a small-scale production line for cartridge assembly and biology integration, and is now working with DnaNudge to transfer to the high-volume manufacturing partners. 

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The TTP Desktop Biology team converted a genomic DNA extraction protocol and multiplex real-time PCR amplification into an elegant simple-to-use instrument and low-cost single-use cartridge. The protocol required accurate control of a number of key factors to help ensure a high-quality result. The core lysis and solid phase DNA extraction protocol is integrated in the core of the cartridge and purified material passed to an array where 72 independent DNA amplification reactions are very carefully controlled and monitored to determine particular genetic variants (SNPs) that help guide nutrition (and in the future—other) purchasing decisions. The development itself has engaged a team at TTP that extends from cloud communication expertise to biological assay development as well as system engineering, thermal control, and optics and design to manufacture. 

Dr. Giles Sanders, consultant at TTP, said: “For the entire Desktop Biology team at TTP, it has been a highly exciting experience to be a core part of this first-to-consumer system. The progress we have made together since our initial discussions in early 2016 has been truly ground-breaking—the NudgeBox and DnaCartridge enable testing that would normally take hours in an off-site laboratory to be transferred directly to the consumer with near real-time results. The DnaNudge proposition and the ecosystem it now enables has a real opportunity to improve the life and wellbeing of all its users.” 

Professor Chris Toumazou, co-founder and CEO at DnaNudge, said: “We initially approached TTP with our concept regarding personalized DNA testing. We were impressed by TTP’s Desktop Biology offering and saw an opportunity to accelerate the development of our technology and chemistry. TTP understands the fundamental steps required to convert lab-based biological processes to functional instruments. Working in partnership, we have been able to develop our product with TTP from concept to manufacture, which, together with our database, will enable consumers to make more informed and healthy food choices, leading to improved health outcomes.” 

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