Microfluidics maker Fluidigm has signed a collaboration with Axon Instruments to develop a cell capture and manipulation microfluidics chip for drug discovery, the company said.
Under the agreement, Fluidigm, of South San Francisco, Calif., will use its flexible rubber microfluidics technology to design the chip to Axon''s specifications, and Axon will design an instrument platform for using the chips, which will be disposable. Axon will likely market the device and the chips, said Rodney Turner, Fluidigm''s vice president of business development.
The companies have conceptualized this microfluidics platform as a new tool for precisely handling and manipulating tiny amounts of eukaryotic cells. They expect the system to be used by researchers to study drug target function in a natural cellular environment.
"This is one of Axon''s strategic efforts to access the drug discovery space," said Turner. "The deal we have with them plays to their ambition and strategy in instrument development for high-throughput screening."
Fluidigm''s chips contain microscopic valves and pumps that can be activated through application of precise amounts of air pressure.
Turner said Fluidigm would be announcing another collaboration shortly.