NEW YORK, April 17 - Microfluidics startup Micronics announced two collaborations Tuesday, one with a University of Washington research group to develop a lab-on-a-chip device, and another with Dionex for a real-time sample preparation technique.
The lab-on-a-chip device, called the Combinatorial Microfluidic Reactor, will measure cellular response to flows of input compounds using two proprietary Micronics technologies, a technique called Optically Resolved Chemical and Cellular Analysis, and H-filter technology, a technique that allows multiple fluid streams to pass across a sample.
University of Washington microfluidics researcher Albert Folch will lead the academic effort, with funding from the company and the Washington Technology Center's Research and Technology Development Program. Folch and Micronics have agreed to collaborate for one year, said Bernhard Weigl, manager of the microfluidics application group at Micronics. Weigl added that he expects Folch to produce a prototype of the microfluidics device by the end of that time.
The collaboration with Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Dionex will also employ Micronics' H-Filter technology, in this case to build "chips" for extracting molecules from complex mixtures without having to use a centrifuge. Dionex plans to couple the disposable chips with chromatographic systems that will allow researchers to avoid more labor-intensive methods for preparing samples from blood and other high protein concentration mixtures, said Weigl.
"What we bought it for, was it's very high recovery from small amounts of sample," said Mike Merion, vice president of worldwide marketing at Dionex. For Dionex, the technology will primarily serve to separate small particles from large particles in a sample, Merion added.Micronics, based in Redmond, Wash., was established five years ago to commercialize technology developed by a bioengineering consortium at the University of Washington. The company holds 20 patents and has collaborations with Honeywell and Beckman Coulter to develop miniaturized diagnostic and analysis systems. Currently, Micronics' only product on the market is a demonstration tool showing how microfluidics can separate fluids.