Integrated Fluidics’ primary competition is expected to be conventional microplate or microarray methodologies offered by established industry players, many of whom have billions in revenues. The Company’s greatest challenge will therefore be overcoming inertia and catalyzing conversion to the Platform through effective articulation and demonstration of its compelling advantages. Integrated Fluidics is not aware of any industry players that are pursuing bioassay improvements based upon the application of electro-kinetic technology.
The Company is aware of several players that are seeking to improve bioassay performance by other means. Competitive alternatives to iFluidics products include technologies for low-volume microtiter plate BAT that are commercially available or could come to market within the next two years. These include
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One such company is Siloam Biosciences (www.siloambio.com). Siloam’s approach makes use of microplates with wells that have micro-fluidic channels carved into the base. The channels serve to increase the surface area upon which reactions can take place. Although the method is entirely passive (it depends upon capillary action), Siloam claims it has the potential to dramatically improve assay sensitivity, reduce sample and reagent volume consumption and cut assay times of several hours to less than 2 hours. Siloam’s approach is limited to 96 well plate configurations only; it is not scalable to 384, 1536 or 3456-well plate densities, nor does the company offer these products.
Another company active in the area is Microsonic Systems Inc. (www.microsonics.com). The Company has developed a Micro-Electrical-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) based transducer, which when excited with radio frequency power generates ultrasonic waves using miniaturized transducers below the microplate well bottom. Their product line encompasses 96-, 384- and 1536-well microplates. The company claims that focusing the waves into a sample container results in rapid and controllable reagent mixing in microplates, tubes and other sample vessels. The primary limitation of Microsonics products is limits to processing only 8 samples at one time, a significant throughput restriction.
Matrical Bioscience (www.Matrical.com) (acquired by Brooks Automation) is also pursuing an ultrasonic approach to fluid mixing. Matrical’s SonicMan is a high throughput multi-probe sonication instrument that uses disposable gasketed pin lids to transfer sonic energy to each individual well in a 96-, 384-, or 1536-well microplate.
Adoption of the ultrasonic systems offered by either Microsonic Systems and Matrical Bioscience involve substantial capital outlay for each laboratory. Ultrasonic devices are not well-suited for Point-of-Care processing because of their size, cost, and low throughput.
A comparison matrix of the efficacy of the various technologies is seen in Table 1 below.