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Roswell Biotechnologies, IMEC Partner on Biosensor Chips

NEW YORK – Roswell Biotechnologies and Belgium-based nanoelectronics firm Imec announced Tuesday a partnership to develop biosensor chips for use in molecular testing and DNA storage.

The firms have already successfully completed key proof-of-concept work and are focused on final process development, they said in a statement. They expect the initial products to be commercially available in 2021. Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"The urgent need for a new generation of rapid, low-cost, consumer surveillance and diagnostics tools has been made extremely clear in the current COVID-19 pandemic," Roswell President and CEO Paul Mola said in a statement. "In that area, the Roswell molecular electronic platform will transform the way infectious diseases are detected, with powerful new capabilities that enable rapid screening of many infectious diseases at once, or many viral strains, with portable or handheld devices."

San Diego-based Roswell is developing a DNA sequencing platform that measures changes in electric current that occur when chip-embedded polymerase incorporates nucleotides into a DNA strand. The firm is also part of a Georgia Tech-led project for DNA-based data storage that recently won a $25 million grant from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity. Roswell raised $32 million in Series A financing in January 2019.

The deal is Imec's latest foray into making chips for biotech applications. In January, the firm partnered with UK-based DNA synthesis firm Evonetix to manufacture silicon chips for Evonetix's platform. Imec is also developing solid-state nanopore technology for DNA sequencing and single-molecule sensing.