Bio-Rad Laboratories has been granted a patent for a system and method for automated single cell capture and processing. The system includes a deck, gantry, and base to support sample processing elements and execute workflows for single cell processing, including antibody detection and mRNA detection. The method involves capturing cells in proximity to functionalized particles, performing various operations, and generating an image dataset for target detection. GlobalData’s report on Bio-Rad Laboratories gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Bio-Rad Laboratories, Laboratory automation robots was a key innovation area identified from patents. Bio-Rad Laboratories's grant share as of September 2023 was 51%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Automated single cell capture and processing system and method

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11724256B2) describes a method for detecting a set of targets, which are biomarkers, in a sample. The method involves several steps to capture cells from the sample and bind the released biomarkers to functionalized particles. The method also includes reverse transcription, second strand synthesis, and amplification operations with the functionalized particles. Probes corresponding to fluorophores are then hybridized to the amplified products, and an image dataset of the emitted light is generated to detect the targets in the sample.

The patent claims also specify different applications for this method. Claim 2 states that the set of targets can include a panel of antibodies for assessing immune responses, including antibodies such as IgM, IgG, IgD, IgA, and IgE. Claim 3 further specifies that the panel of antibodies can include antibodies for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Claim 4 states that the set of targets can also include a panel of mRNA molecules. Additionally, claim 5 mentions the possibility of performing a spatial transcriptomics analysis of the mRNA panel, where the sample is distributed across the sample processing substrate.

The patent claims also describe the process of capturing cells in proximity to functionalized particles. Claim 6 explains that this can be achieved by delivering the cells to microwells on a sample processing substrate and aligning it with a second substrate containing microwells with the functionalized particles. Claim 7 mentions compressing the second substrate against the first substrate to partition individual wells and allow the diffusion of cell-derived content towards the functionalized particles.

Other claims in the patent describe additional steps and features of the method, such as heating the substrates during compression (claim 8), performing multiplexed detection using a set of probes and fluorophores with different melting points (claim 10), and estimating initial concentrations of mRNAs based on fluorescence values and amplification cycles (claim 11).

The patent also includes a second method (claims 12-16) that is similar to the first method but involves capturing a tissue sample instead of individual cells. The rest of the steps and applications remain the same.

Overall, this granted patent describes a method for detecting biomarkers in a sample using functionalized particles and various molecular techniques. The method has potential applications in assessing immune responses, including COVID-19 antibodies, as well as analyzing mRNA molecules and performing spatial transcriptomics analysis.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.