September 15th, 2005
STMicroelectronics Readies MEMS-Based Disease Diagnostic Chip for Personalized
Medicine Market – Interfaces to Home PC
STMicroelectronics, a semiconductor companies with revenue of $8.76
billion in 2004, through its Microfluidic Division has reported on the development of a DNA based analysis MEMS chip. The
new chip is expected to be the basis for a PC compatible portable device platform called In-Check.
The chip and interface is the result of a long-standing relationship
between STMicroelectronics and Mobidiag, a bioassay company. Anton Hofmeister, Group Vice-President and General Manager for
STMicroelectronics Microfluidic Division emphasized the affordability of the new device. "We believe that affordable, user-friendly,
and portable devices like the In-Check are set to make a critical difference in a growing number of diagnostic applications."
Noting that the In-Check system will speed and improve healthcare
was Jaakko Pellosniemi, CEO of Mobidiag "Early detection of systemic bacterial infections is essential for the successful
management of antibiotic therapy, and we look forward to addressing the needs of laboratories that perform millions of blood
cultures every year in our target markets. The In-Check platform is ideally suited to exploit the advantages of Mobidiag's
unique diagnostic microbiological panels. Our product will markedly improve the quality of treatment choices, leading to better
patient outcomes and reduced healthcare costs."
In-Check is expected to offer a much more reliable solution at a
lower cost than typical laboratory systems used today. The platform has been designed to enable the fast analysis of bacteria
and to enable the correct and best selection of an antibiotic to fight specific bacteria. A pathogen panel developed by Mobidiag
is used to identify sepsis-causing bacterial species and the methicillin-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus.
Mr. Hofmeister also spoke about the MEMS and biological technology
used to build the chip, "The unique combination of ST's leading-edge semiconductor and MEMS expertise with Mobidiag's know-how
in microbiological diagnostics opens new possibilities for effective detection and treatment of infectious diseases at the
point of need."
ST’s lab-on-chip platform amplifies DNA samples through the
popular Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). The MEMS based solution contains a microarray along with microreactors that are within
the MEMS chip. The sample (often a blood sample from the patient) along with reagents are circulated through the MEMS’
microreactors and are heated with on-chip heating elements (resistors) to perform the needed PCR temperature cycling. To further
control the miniature, self-contained reaction, the lab-on-chip interfaces to a Thermal Control System that monitors and adjusts
parameters to optimize the reaction. The platform also performs optical signal acquisition that is processed with STMicroelectronics’
The chips still have a few milestones to cross before reaching the
market. Presently the first In-Check lab-on-chips need to be validated by Mobidiag. Clinical trials are planned for early
2006 and the resulting platform with software scheduled for launch later in that year.
September 15th, 2005
Biophan Technologies, Inc. (OTCBB:BIPH in conjunction with New Scale
Technologies, Inc., announced that New Scale has obtained a patent for its SQUIGLE motor, a high-performance ultra-small motor
with applications in the health care market, specifically in Magnetic Resonance Imaging systems.
Biophan, which has exclusive worldwide distribution rights for all
medical applications for the motor, indicated the product had numerous applications in the medical market. According to Michael
Weiner, Biophan, CEO, "Now that the U.S. Patent office has issued the fundamental U.S. patent for the SQUIGGLE motor, Biophan
and New Scale hold key intellectual property protection as we continue to develop products based on the SQUIGGLE motor. We
believe the motor's unique features and capabilities will allow the development of significantly improved solutions for existing
multi-billion-dollar health care markets, as well as the development of applications for promising new product areas in medical
Specifically, the companies noted that the SQUIGGLE motor has applications
in implantable and wearable drug-delivery pumps. As well the motor can be used in operations that involve the use of Magnetic
Resonance Imaging (MRI) systems because it is made from non-magnetic ceramics. As a result, remote-controlled robotic
surgical devices can be developed for the treatment of brain tumors in an MRI environment.
New SQUIGGLE models from New Scale are expected to range in size
from 4 millimeter in diameter to 12 millimeter in diameter, with a variety of ranges of motion. The company reports
that the SQUIGGLE motors, which are moved through ultrasonic vibrations, are smaller than conventional motors but larger than
MEMS devices. MEMS based micromotors are another emerging miniature motor technology. That technology has been developed over
the years at Sandia National Laboratories.
Other industry applications for the SQUIGGLE motor Biophan
points to include camera zoom lenses for cell phones.
September 9th, 2005
Santur Corporation Receives MEMS Mirror Patent
Santur Corporation, a manufacturer of laser sources for applications in the telecommunications
market has received United States patent, U.S. 6,934,063, simply entitled, “MEMS mirror.” The patent relates to
a MEMS dual-axis mirror and the method for fabrication of the mirror. The invention refers to electrodes, which are so constructed
to prevent contact with the reflective layer. The inventor of the patent was Dihn Ton.
Santur in June of this
year closed a round of $16.6 million in Series C funding. That funding round included investments from Menlo Ventures,
Sequoia Capital, Thomas Weisel Venture Partners, VantagePoint Venture Partners and Lighthouse Capital. Santur’s product
line includes QIF tunable laser sources used for advanced optical networking systems in applications such as DWDM fiber optic
September 8th, 2005
Harris Corp. has obtained U.S. Patent No. 6,933,933. The patent
entitled, “Pen cartridge that transmits acceleration signal for recreating handwritten signatures and communications,”
describes an ink based pen with MEMS based accelerometer mounted within the ink cartridge. The accelerometer receives signals
from a computer or other type of processing device and is used to recreate a signature that for instance may have been created
with a computer pen. The inventor of the device was listed as Paul D. Flemming.
September 6th, 2005
Fluidigm Releases Microfluidic
Parallel Processing Chip
Fluidigm Corporation, which has a micromachined rubber-like nanovalve
as the foundation for its integrated fluidic circuit, has released a microfluidic parallel processing chip it has named the
8.96 Screening Chip. The chip, used in conjunction with the company’s TOPAZ System for Protein Crystallization, gives
researchers involved in applications such as drug discovery for oral vaccines the capability to perform 768 experiments in
parallel with less than 15 nanoliters of protein per sample trial. The company indicates that the new chip dramatically lowers
the overhead associated with the process of protein crystallization. "The 8.96 Chip fulfills a promise made with the crystallization
community to provide increasingly cost effective and enabling devices," commented the CEO of Fluidigm, Gajus Worthington.
He added that, "It is important to note that we are able to provide
greater and greater processing power in our Chips while maintaining compatibility with existing TOPAZ instruments. Performance
improvements in the TOPAZ system are driven by intelligent chip design."
Protein crystallization is the process used to determine the molecular
structure of a protein. With this structural knowledge, researchers can design drugs that fit and interlock with target molecules
that need modification.