Product News: Hamilton Robotics Collaborates with Illumina to Develop a Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing Solution

18 Apr 2017


Hamilton Robotics continues to strengthen their ongoing partnership with Illumina, Inc. through the collaborative development of the VeriSeq™ NIPT Solution for high-throughput noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT).

This automated, next-generation sequencing (NGS) workflow is a simple six-step process for up to 48 or 96 samples at a time; with results in approximately one day, compared to two days or more using other methods. Costs per test using the automated VeriSeq NIPT Solution are significantly lower compared to traditional evasive testing techniques like amniocentesis. Now, laboratories in the European Union can adopt a new category of prenatal testing that is cost-effective and can quickly delivering highly-accurate fetal genetic screening results to clinicians.

NIPT screens for specific fetal chromosome abnormalities using cell-free DNA purified from a single tube of maternal blood drawn as early as 10 weeks gestation. The low test failure rate may mean fewer invasive procedures related miscarriage, stillbirth and maternal bleeding.

The VeriSeq NIPT Solution combines Illumina’s NGS technology with the VeriSeq NIPT Microlab® STAR™ automated workstation from Hamilton Robotics to provide a PCR-free whole-genome sequencing (WGS) workflow. This approach has been shown to provide one of the lowest test failure rates among NIPT technologies. 

“Hamilton’s automated technologies have a strong track record of success,” said Jeff Hawkins, Vice President and General Manager of Reproductive Genetic Health at Illumina. “The Microlab STAR platform was the right choice for our automated NIPT workflow to ensure a robust, cost-effective, globally supported solution.”

The VeriSeq NIPT Microlab STAR is pre-configured and qualified to work with Illumina’s NIPT assay reagents, consumables and analysis software during plasma isolation, library preparation, quantification and pooling of maternal whole blood samples. By automating this workflow, users will simplify sample and library preparation, and reduce time-consuming, error-prone manual pipetting steps to simultaneously increase throughput while reducing manual labor.

As part of the collaboration, VeriSeq NIPT Solution will be co-promoted by Hamilton Robotics and Illumina. A single, localized point of contact will enable customers to seamlessly integrate the VeriSeq NIPT Solution into the laboratory while conveniently leveraging the respective expertise and services of each Company during installation, training and other post-installation needs.