LLMDA and Applied Biosystems Axiom Microbiome Array (ABAMA)

LLMDA and Applied Biosystems Axiom Microbiome Array (ABAMA)

Human disease, agricultural contamination, and pharmaceutical impurity are caused by pathogens—bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Knowing which pathogen is present is the key to ensuring human safety. Imagine a technology that can identify in one comprehensive test any pathogen that may compromise safety. You are envisioning the Lawrence Livermore Microbial Detection Array (LLMDA), a compact sensor developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) that can detect the presence of thousands of microbial species.

The technology was brought to the market as Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Applied Biosystems Axiom Microbiome Array (ABAMA), the first high-throughput pan-microbial detection product. Public health and medical professionals have used the technology to detect and respond to bioterrorism, and to find pathogens in human samples (blood, urine feces, sputum, cerebrospinal fluid, tissues), biological materials, and environmental samples. The technology has been used to identify disease-causing organisms that contaminate products such as vaccines and other biologicals, or that exist in specific environments such as in buildings or in the air, water, and soil of natural environments where a pathogen is suspected as a causative agent of an outbreak. It has also been used in archaeological studies.

Affymetrix, a company focused on producing DNA microarrays, has worked with LLNL periodically since 2000. The company licensed the LLMDA technology at the end of a Collaborative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) in 2015. Thermo Fisher, a $20-billion scientific products and services company, acquired Affymetrix in 2016. In August 2016 Thermo Fisher introduced the Axiom Microbiome Array based on the LLMDA technology. Thermo Fisher provides products and services in the areas of genetic testing, research services, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, analytical instruments, and laboratory equipment.

Some earlier versions of LLMDA arrays have already made their way into testing at government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Naval Medical Research Center—assisting soldiers, researchers, doctors and first responders. Now, with LLMDA technology coming to market, its utility can expand to more hospitals, municipalities, biotechnology companies, and medical organizations to make the world a safer place.

As one of the largest life sciences technology companies in the market today, Thermo Fisher is well-positioned to take the research and development performed by Affymetrix and LLNL and expand it for the greatest possible impact. With its role in the Applied Biosystems Axiom Microbiome Array, LLMDA can identify and stop food and vaccine contamination, assist in safeguarding livestock and agriculture, analyze risk factors for human papillomavirus, and even help with research on historical pathogen outbreaks.

Contact: Connie Pitcock, (925) 422-1072, pitcock1@llnl.gov

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