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BioMicro Seeks $10M Series B to Launch Novel Microfluidics Platform

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 4 – Fledgling microfluidic firm BioMicro said on Thursday that it hopes to close a Series B round of financing worth $10 million by the end of the year.

Michael McNeely, president and CEO of the Sandy, Utah-based company, told GenomeWeb that the capital will help BioMicro commercialize its novel microfluidics platform, the Micro Array User Interface, or MAUI.

Speaking in between sessions of the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s venture forum meeting here, which ends today, McNeely said that the MAUI platform is scheduled to undergo beta testing "with many US pharmaceutical companies" in January. He added he hopes the product will launch in the third quarter next year.

According to McNeely, the MAUI platform is based on BioMicro’s novel Passive Fluid Control technology, which relies on hydrophobic pneumatic pressure, and not electricity or mechanical valves, to manipulate the flow of fluids through microarray samples. The fluids can then be read by standard mass spec or electrophoresis, he said.

The PFC technology, which was issued a patent in the US on Tuesday, may "simplify otherwise complex procedures by pumping reagents into functional circuits," McNeely said. Because it relies on air pressure, it may provide "significant competitve advantages in accuracy, simplification of use and cost," according to company literature.

McNeely said he expects each MAUI chip, which will be disposable and can fit atop most standard microscope slide arrays, to cost about $50. The current platform is manual, he explained, but BioMicro intends to develop an automated version that would allow the manipulation of multiple samples of reagents.

According to a report by Frost & Sullivan released in April, the worldwide market for automated microarray processors is $62 million and has the potential to grow by more than 50 percent per year.

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