Ambry Genetics today opened a “Super Lab” in Aliso Viejo, CA that the company says will eventually enable it to increase the number of patient samples it processes daily by nine-fold.
Initial plans call for Ambry to triple its capacity for processing patient samples at the Super Lab. At 65,000 square feet, the Super Lab is more than four times the size of the company’s previous commercial laboratory facilities.
According to Ambry, the fully automated lab will be a 24/7 operation that allows technicians to start analyzing samples faster so that more samples can be processed in less time. The company said it expects turnaround times for one of its cancer panels to be about one to two weeks faster.
A custom-built conveyor belt system will move samples through each part of the testing process, photographing the sample and scanning the sample barcode along the way. The Super Lab uses a custom-built Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) designed to support workflow and data tracking.
The Super Lab will also employ expanded quality control measures, with the goal of improving on Ambry’s accuracy. The company said microarrays and next-generation sequencing will be run concurrently in the new lab to call out deletions and/or duplications.
Every sample will be DNA fingerprinted to avoid sample tracking issues throughout the workflow, and will undergo an accuracy check, Ambry said, with Sanger sequencing to be employed for confirming the reported results and ensuring they are correct.
“Ever since I started Ambry, I’ve been driven to make genetics a more empowered, collaborative science to fulfill the promise of the human genome and help people live healthier, better lives. We customized this lab to help us collect the wealth of genomic data and support the kind of research that will achieve this mission,” said Ambry founder and CEO Charles Dunlop in a statement.
Privately held Ambry said it remains committed to growing its operations in California’s Orange County. The company has been based there since Dunlop founded the company in 1999 in a small office above a motorcycle shop with one genetic test for cystic fibrosis.