Kansas City research institute wins 3-year federal contract

Kansas City-based MRIGlobal will lead a team to develop a genome-sequencing diagnostic system that aims to more rapidly and accurately identify deadly microorganisms.

Work will focus on developing a system that uses blood or saliva samples to generate whole-genome sequences of bacteria and viruses that are human pathogens.

MRIGlobal chief executive Tom Sack said the “Sample-to-Sequence” system will provide clinical information within 24 hours as opposed to the week or so that it currently takes to generate data from some blood samples.

The institute said the three-year contract, awarded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, is expected to lead to a system that will apply for FDA approval and release on the commercial market.

Eventually, said Michael Cassler, director of MRIGlobal’s molecular diagnostics section, “We will deploy a ‘gold standard’ pathogen database” that “clinicians worldwide can use to quickly and accurately identify deadly infectious disease-causing microorganisms, allowing for more rapid and accurate treatment to ultimately save lives.”

To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to Follow her online at and @kcstarstafford.