MAKO Medical Invests in New Laboratory Automation

Expands Molecular & COVID-19 Test Processing Capacity

Raleigh, North Carolina, UNITED STATES


RALEIGH, N.C., July 18, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MAKO Medical Laboratories, a national reference laboratory and national leader in COVID-19 testing, is purchasing four additional high-tech liquid handling automation systems after the initial successful evaluation of the first system for the company’s 70,000 square foot laboratory to allow the lab to more than double the COVID-19 testing capacity of a single lab technician in the future.

“These new, automated systems are essential pieces of equipment for us as we live with the ongoing possibility of another surge of COVID-19 cases,” said Matthew Tugwell, Director of Genomics at MAKO Medical. “With the eventual addition of automation, MAKO will be better prepared for future surges and maintain our industry leading turnaround time.”

As pioneers and one of the first to utilize Thermo Fisher Scientific’s KingFisher SpeciTRAX Sample Transfer System, MAKO Medical is lending first-hand experience to shape the future of the technology while also preparing itself to significantly expand the company’s testing capacity at its Henderson, N.C. facility.

“Automation provides additional efficiency and enhances MAKO’s ability to be agile and respond quickly to the nation’s testing needs,” said Josh Arant, COO at MAKO Medical. “These specific automation systems are multi-functional and can be used across a multitude of testing specialties. “

Generally, a MAKO lab technician can typically prepare eight 96-well plates of specimens in an 8-hour shift. The new systems double that capacity and enable a single technician to prepare 16 plates over the course of an 8-hour shift.

MAKO has fully validated the new systems for testing patient specimens as part of the equipment evaluation program for eventual future use in its laboratories.  

Founded in 2014, MAKO Medical is a College of American Pathologists (CAP) accredited laboratory that operates more than 70,000 square feet of laboratory space across two North Carolina facilities, one in Henderson and one in Raleigh.  The Henderson facility was expanded in 2020 in response to COVID-19, increasing the lab’s capacity from 50,000 COVID-19 tests per day to over 150,000 tests per day. 

Since April 2020, MAKO Medical has processed more than 12 million COVID-19 tests utilizing RT-PCR technology and industry-leading testing assays, including the Applied Biosystems TaqPath COVID-19 Combo Assay. The MAKO team also partnered with the CDC to provide next-generation sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 during the height of the pandemic. 

MAKO’s core business is setting a higher standard on serving as a diagnostics partner for health care providers across the United States.  The MAKO Way delivers turnkey lab services with precision and accuracy. 

Company Highlights:

  • August 2020, MAKO Medical announced the company scored 100% on CAP COVID Proficiency Testing, demonstrating MAKO’s commitment to quality lab results.
  • Committed to the U.S. Military—At MAKO’s founding, leaders carved out divisions of the company to hire U.S. military veterans. These teams are foundational to MAKO’s elite and high-touch client services model.  In November 2021, MAKO held its second annual Veterans Day lunch to honor veterans, handing out more than 400 free meals Vance County veterans and their family members.
  • May 2021, the Triangle Business Journal recognized MAKO Medical with a 2021 Life Sciences Award. 

PROVIDED VIDEO:  B-roll of the new automated system in MAKO’s Henderson, NC laboratory and soundbites with Matthew Tugwell, Director of Genomics at MAKO.  

Video link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ufbc3imtl20kdlv/MAKO_Automation.mp4?dl=0

Included soundbites from Matthew Tugwell, Director of Genomics at MAKO, start at 1:02 into the video.

(1:02-1:24)  “It definitely provides another layer of protection for us in terms of being able to ramp up quickly. You know, this preparation system itself can do about 5,000 over the course of a 24-hour period. So adding that on top of the capacity that we already have truly augments what we’re already doing.”

(1:33-2:22) “It’s ultimately trying to make the laboratory process as efficient and error-proof as possible because our scientists are highly skilled and are reliable in terms of being able to pipette the samples themselves, but the SpeciTRAX system is next to perfect in terms of what it does. So, adding that extra layer for quality purposes is effective and really frees up staff to produce the more complex work that has to be done. This is the most labor intensive, manual step in the process and automating that frees up the employees to work on other tasks that can’t be automated.” 

About MAKO Medical

Founded in 2014, MAKO Medical is a diagnostics partner for businesses, physicians, urgent care facilities, and hospitals around the United States. MAKO Medical has recruited chemists and scientists to provide industry-leading innovation. MAKO Medical Laboratories’ methods and assays are validated for reproducibility, precision, and accuracy. MAKO Medical invests heavily in state-of-the-art instrumentation and technology. To learn more, visit makomedical.com.

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MAKO Medical Invests in New Laboratory Automation

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