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BioMicro Patents Microfluidics Platform, Phylos, Mosaic Win Patents


BioMicro of Sandy, Utah, hopes a new US patent on its microfluidics technology will help it attract $10 million in a Series B round of financing by the end of the year. The patent, Number 6,296,020, describes methods of controlling fluid through microchannels using passive valves. These valves inhibit the flow of solution, building up pressure until the pressure exceeds the barrier.

In BioMicro’s invention, these valves are laid out so as to allow samples to be mixed and diluted via a single channel. A series of “sister wells” is filled in order to allow these wells to be filled in unison. Air ducts are also designed into the system in order to prevent air from becoming trapped in the microchannels.

BioMicro uses this principle in its platform, the Micro Array User Interface (MAUI). According to BioMicro CEO Michael McNeely, the company is planning to introduce this platform for beta testing “with many US pharmaceutical companies” in January. He added that he hopes the product will launch in the third quarter next year.

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.


Mosaic Technologies of Waltham, Mass., received US Patent Number 6,300,070, “Solid phase methods for amplifying multiple nucleic acids.” This technology describes a bridge amplification method using single-stranded amplification, in which a primary amplified molecule is used to begin subsequent stages of amplification.


Phylos of Lexington, Mass, has been issued another in a growing series of US Patents protecting its ProFusion technology, which underpins the company’s protein chips.

Patent Number 6,281, 344, “Nucleic acid-protein fusion molecules and libraries,” describes methods and reagents for selecting the protein molecules that use RNA-protein fusions. Phylos uses these molecules to select proteins with specific properties. The company then will amplify the proteins through amplifying the nucleic acid tags attached to them. The company then plans to use high-affinity proteins among these as probes on microarrays.

This patent is the latest in a slew of patents Phylos has recently received for ProFusion technology.


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