Swift Biosciences Launches High Throughput NGS Panel for Novel Coronavirus

ANN ARBOR, Mich., May 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Swift Biosciences, Inc., a leader in commercialization of DNA and RNA library preparation kits for Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), announced the release of its Swift Amplicon SARS-CoV-2 Research Panel. Targeting the full viral genome in a single reaction with a rapid 2-hour workflow, Swift's assay meets research and surveillance needs for standard samples by converting and enriching viral cDNA into NGS-ready libraries. As a subsequent planned product release, Swift will also be launching an improved version of the assay to accommodate low viral titers found in clinical samples and support high throughput processing with its new Swift Normalase(TM) Amplicon Panel (SNAP) workflow.

Both the Swift Amplicon Panel and soon-to-be-launched SNAP Panel leverage Swift's patented multiplex PCR technology to target and amplify the entire 30 kb viral genome in a single tube reaction, which maximizes sensitivity and specificity without substantially increasing workflow demands compared to qRT-PCR. The panel's 341 primer pairs provide coverage of 98% of NCBI Reference Sequence NC-045512.2 (SARS-CoV-2 isolate Wuhan-Hu-1) and have been screened in silico against similar viruses and human reference sequences to minimize off target amplification from background material and provide optimal specificity. Unlike competing amplicon enrichment workflows that require subsequent NGS library construction, Swift's NGS assay is a straight two-round amplicon PCR that adds adapters directly without a secondary library construction. It works with samples that fail other methods with qRT-PCR Ct values in the mid-30s while providing complete genome coverage.

"Enabling more tools for research and screening of SARS-CoV-2 is critical to the worldwide health community at this time," said Drew McUsic, PhD, Director of Product Management at Swift Biosciences. "Swift is bringing its NGS expertise and supplier infrastructure to the fight against COVID-19, working quickly and carefully to put this kit in the hands of institutions leading efforts against the pandemic to expedite testing, surveillance, and mitigation strategies. The work of our valued customers and collaborators will help suppress further outbreaks and empower groups to learn more about existing and emerging strains of the novel coronavirus."

The assay is applicable for both sample testing and public health surveillance and epidemiological studies, according to top virology experts at HudsonAlpha, NYU and the University of Washington. By multiplexing hundreds of primer pairs, the sensitivity and specificity are increased due to the higher probability of amplifying limited quantities of viral template material as well as the ability to use sequencing to confirm that reads are mappable to SARS-CoV-2 instead of similar coronaviruses or pathogens.

Swift's new SNAP workflow will offer Illumina(®)-compatible index combinations for processing up to 384 samples per sequencing run and generate libraries that are flexible to conventional library quantification methods as well as Swift Normalase to support increased throughput and scalability.

About Swift Biosciences

Swift Biosciences develops and commercializes NGS Library Preparation Kits that enable technologies for genomics, translational, and clinical research. Our proprietary technologies expand the range of sample inputs to extend the applications of next-generation sequencing (NGS). Swift Library Kits are designed to maximize data output, provide the most comprehensive coverage available on the market and reduce sequencing costs. Our products are designed to facilitate library normalization and to analyze DNA and RNA samples for applications including Liquid Biopsy (circulating, cell-free DNA), Methylation Sequencing, Whole Genome, Exome and Transcriptome Sequencing as well as Chromatin studies, from low input quantities and from Formalin-Fixed, Paraffin-Embedded samples. The mission of Swift is to provide research tools for long term improvements in the health of individuals and their communities all around the world, specifically in the fight against cancer and understanding the complexities of inherited diseases. The tools developed in our efforts are directly applicable to research in agrigenomics, biotechnology, metagenomics, and the pharmaceutical industry.

For more information, visit SwiftBioSci.com and follow Swift Biosciences on Twitter (@SwiftBioSci).

Contact: Camille Cappello, cappello@swiftbio.com

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SOURCE Swift Biosciences