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Spartan Bioscience Announces First Applications for World's Smallest DNA-Testing Device

Spartan Bioscience launched the world's smallest commercial molecular diagnostic device, the Spartan Cube, and announced its first applications. About the size of a coffee cup, or four inches cubed, the Cube enables unprecedented portability and convenience, enabling new application in fields such as infectious disease, pharmacogenetics, and food and water safety testing.

The Spartan Cube is a PCR-based platform that fully integrates DNA collection, extraction, and analysis, with an intuitive interface that is easy to operate. In addition, the Cube goes from sample to result in 30 minutes, a fraction of the time compared to lab-based testing.

Spartan announced three assays: Strep A, Apolipoprotein E (APOE), and Legionella.

Strep A

Pharyngitis or sore throat accounts for 40 million doctor visits annually in the United States. The leading cause is Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria (Group A β-hemolytic Streptococcus, Strep A).(1) For too long, doctors and patients have had to accept fast but inaccurate immunoassay Strep tests. The Cube enables rapid and accurate PCR-based Strep testing that is portable enough for a doctor's office or walk-in clinic. Spartan plans to submit a CLIA waiver application to the FDA for this test.

Apolipoprotein E (APOE)

Alzheimer's disease affects more than five million patients in the United States.(2) One-in-four people carry APOE genetic mutations that increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's.(3) These genetic carriers can be ideal candidates to enroll in clinical trials or research studies. The Cube is the fastest way to identify these potential patients based on their genetics. For example, patients can be tested for clinical trials in doctors' offices, walk-in clinics, or even nursing homes.


Legionella is a group of bacteria that can colonize water systems such as cooling towers and Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems. Contaminated systems can cause serious respiratory illnesses, such as Legionnaires' disease. For example, in 2015, 12 people died in New York from a Legionella outbreak that was traced back to infected cooling towers.(4) The Cube is the first portable DNA-based Legionella testing device that is suitable for professional use in facilities management. For the first time, building managers can bring rapid and accurate Legionella testing on-site.

Paul Lem, M.D., CEO of Spartan Bioscience, says the Spartan Cube is bringing the power of rapid DNA testing to everyone.

"Just like mainframe computers gave way to smartphones, DNA-testing systems in central labs will give way to portable, on-demand DNA analyzers," says Dr. Lem. "And in the same way a smartphone allows you to run multiple apps at your fingertips, the Cube enables all kinds of molecular diagnostic tests whenever and wherever you want."

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