May 13, 2021
MAKO Medical Laboratories, a national reference laboratory and leader in COVID-19 testing, today announced a comprehensive partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide next-generation sequencing of SARS-CoV-2.
Since January 2021, MAKO has utilized sequencing processes to analyze a group of more than 2,500 samples from tests conducted across its forty-three state testing footprint. To date, these efforts have identified the occurrence of multiple variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including the B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and B.1.429 variants, across 25 states.
“The MAKO team is proud to partner with the Centers for Disease Control to provide sequencing services for samples from across the country,” said Josh Arant, Chief Operating Officer, MAKO Medical. “For the past year, our team has been committed to providing rapid, reliable results to patients and providers across forty-three states. We recognized the need to introduce sequencing for a portion of samples our team collected earlier this year and are honored to apply that experience in this partnership.”
Since the emergence of COVID-19, scientists have monitored the surge of variants and mutations of the virus. While a natural process for any virus, mutations of SARS-CoV-2 represent an outsized risk due to the impact that they may have on virus containment and vaccine efficacy.
“Over the past several months, our sequencing team has identified the emergence of strains like the United Kingdom B.1.1.7, South African, and Denmark variants in states across the country,” said Steve Hoover, Vice President of Laboratory Operations, MAKO Medical. “As new strains are defined, MAKO continues to sequence samples and provide much-needed data to public health professionals.”
This partnership results from the CDC’s solicitation for qualified laboratories to conduct genomic surveillance using a random set of samples from across the United States.
MAKO Medical has partnered with leading life sciences company Thermo Fisher Scientific to leverage its high-capacity sequencing platforms to support its current and future needs. The MAKO team utilizes Thermo Fisher’s Ion Torrent GeneStudio S5 Prime System, which provides high-quality sequencing data in just a few hours. It also uses the Ion AmpliSeq SARS-CoV-2 Research Panel, which enables sequencing of more than 99% of the SARS-CoV-2 genome. MAKO’s current operations are capable of sequencing 6,000 samples per week but could expand to 200,000 samples per week if needed.
“MAKO Medical has played a key role to help scale up COVID-19 testing across the majority of U.S. states as one of the first labs to adopt our TaqPath COVID-19 Combo Kit more than a year ago,” said Mark Stevenson, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Thermo Fisher Scientific. “The expanded effort they are now undertaking by leveraging next-generation sequencing further supports the national initiative to ramp up surveillance efforts to track and curb the spread of emerging variants.”
“MAKO Medical‘s cutting edge innovation is one of the reasons why North Carolina is regarded as a national leader in health sciences,” said Senator Thom Tillis. “I applaud the CDC for recognizing the critical work that MAKO and the state of North Carolina are doing to put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us once and for all.”
“Congratulations to MAKO Medical on its new partnership with the CDC in the fight against COVID-19,” said Congressman G.K. Butterfield. “The MAKO Medical team has been on the front lines fighting COVID-19 from the beginning of the pandemic. It is no wonder that when the CDC was looking for partners to conduct genetic tests to trace COVID-19 variants, it turned to MAKO Medical. I am so proud to have a local business like MAKO leading the fight against COVID-19.”
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 COVID19 tests per day to over 150,000 tests per day.
Since April 2020, MAKO Medical has processed more than 7 million COVID-19 utilizing RT-PCR technology and industry-leading testing assays, including the Applied Biosystems TaqPath COVID-19 Combo Assay. Currently, the MAKO team processes more than 30,000 COVID-19 samples per day from forty-three states.
- For the past two years, Forbes Magazine has included MAKO Medical in its inaugural list of America’s Best Startup Employers. Only 500 companies nationwide earned the distinction.
- 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 2020, MAKO held its first Veterans Day lunch to honor veterans. The company served a free meal to all Vance County veterans and their family members.
- May 2021, MAKO Medical was recognized by the Triangle Business Journal with a 2021 Life Sciences Award.
INCLUDED PHOTO: MAKO Medical team member conducting genomic sequencing of COVID-19 samples