The Pardee Lab is part of the Graduate Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Toronto. The lab seeks to impact human health by developing portable, affordable tools using the principles of synthetic biology. We have recently developed two exciting new biotechnologies that aim to enable low cost and distributed healthcare. The first is a portable platform for low cost molecular diagnostics and the second is a system for the portable manufacture of therapeutics outside of the laboratory. Both systems are based on freeze-dried, cell-free biochemical reactions that are activated by simply adding water.
We see cell-free technologies as important tools in meeting challenges that face health care systems at home and abroad. As we have demonstrated, cell-free hosting of diagnostics and drug manufacturing offers a paradigm shift in how health care systems can adapt rapidly to public health needs, provide emergency response and extend lab-grade molecular capabilities into virtually any environment. Such applications are enabled by freeze-dried cell-free (FD-CF) enzymes that are sterile yet retain the properties of cellular transcription and translation for deploying poised molecular components to the field.