With an extra $125,000 of venture capital funding, Evident Technologies of Troy, NY, is getting closer to commercializing a novel microarray technology based around quantum dots, or nanocrystals — semiconductor particles that emit light when stimulated.
Evident, a 12-employee research and development manufacturing company, last week received a second tranche of funding from the Small Business Technology Investment Fund of the Empire State Development in New York, adding to $1.9 million in funds committed in the spring to guarantee that the firm would remain in the state.
The two-year-old firm in May took in $500,000 plus a $400,000 equity investment and the promise of $500,000 a year for the next two years, in return for remaining in the state and growing to 200 employees within two years. The additional funds are a grant for training.
“We are a post-90s company,” Steve Talbot, Evident vice president of marketing, told BioArray News. “We create things of value and we don’t have to rely on stock pyramiding. We are using this investment to scale up.”
The funds will help the firm move to commercial manufacturing capacity with a facility in Watervliet, NY.
The company has created a manufacturing process that allows it to churn out nanocrystals, which are semiconductors that are built atom-by-atom. They have properties that might overcome the limitations of traditional organic fluorophors, said Jonathan Hibbs, Evident vice president for biotechnology.
“Those limitations create a market opportunity for us,” he said. The nanocrystals do not measurably degrade when exposed to light, and they emit light in the visible spectrum and can be excited by light from lasers, or other broadband sources: “The kind of black light you use on your Elvis poster would do it,” said Hibbs.
The company’s first product, already available for purchase, is EviDots, or nanocrystals in solvents.
The company is ramping up to use nanocrystals for microarray analysis, commercialized in a product it calls the EviArray, which consists of EviDots of many colors attached to specifically designed oligo sequences and anchored on a substrate to form a pre-labeled, oligo probe array. Evident has not set a time frame for the introduction of the array.
The company plans to sell its products directly, or through corporate partners. It will also provide advisory services.
“Our main goal is to distribute this stuff in forms that will allow others to do assays,” said Talbot. “We will do value-added tasks such as attaching and conjugating things to the nanocrystals — we will help people who want to stick things to nanocrystals.”
The company is also eying the emerging biosensor market. Without the need for a highly refined light source, it thinks nanocrystals are perfect as a technology for field instruments.