On December 22, 2020, XPRIZE, the world’s leading competition organizer in solving humanity’s challenges selected the Stanford Microfluics Lab + Purigen Biosystems Team as one the 20 finalists for the $6 million XPRIZE Rapid Covid Testing competition. In its pursuit to finding faster, newer, cheaper, and more efficient methods for COVID-19 testing, the XPRIZE competition challenges conventional systems and techniques to single out novel, untapped technologies that may help transform the current testing landscape. Each of the 219 semifinalists were given blind proficiency testing kits containing synthetic or inactivated COVID-19 RNA samples and were required to accurately identify which samples contain the RNA and which do not. As one of the 20 finalists selected, the Stanford + Purigen Team combines Purigen’s Ionic® Purification System with a CRISPR-based detection method to identify amplicons associated with the SARS-CoV-2 genome for enhanced specificity. Being selected as a finalist among a long list of 219 qualified teams is a testament to how this new RNA purification method is beginning to impact the scientific world.
Using a proprietary application of isotachophoresis pioneered by Purigen's co-founder, Stanford Professor Juan G. Santiago, the transformative Ionic Purification System extracts nucleic acids from biological samples more efficiently with higher yields and higher quality. To support the team at the Stanford Microfluidics Lab, the Ionic system was used to extract and purify RNA from viral samples for SARS-CoV-2 detection.
Anousheh Ansari, CEO of XPRIZE
On February 2021, XPRIZE will be announcing the top five teams that will advance to the deployment phase.