Background and History
A technological improvement incorporating microfluidics that could overcome many or all of the challenges with traditional bioassays and enable greater use and efficacy of low-volume microtiter-plate-based assays would invigorate the market segment.
In recent years, there has been increasing interest and effort in the HTS markets, both research and diagnostics, to significantly reduce BAT reagent-volumes in order to subsequently reduce the cost of critical biologics that are expensive and difficult to produce. However, existing low-volume technologies encounter numerous difficulties due to long mixing/reaction times that result in performance degradation, inefficient workflow, and waste. The most notable consequence of long mixing times and/or poor mixing is evaporation, which results in reduced accuracy and sensitivity. This is often mitigated by adding additional workflow to seal the top of microplates – which forces an additional unsealing process before the place is interpreted in a laboratory ‘reader’.
User expectations on the benefits they hope to derive from improved mixing are very high as they relate to increasing assay quality and robustness, improving compound solubilization, and reducing target or substrate adsorption onto plastics. Despite these high expectations, current technology has not yet materialized to address all of these concerns.
The iPlate Platform has already demonstrated clear performance benefits in every area of concern above. The iPlate Platform has already demonstrated increased sensitivity, dramatically decreased time required for biochemistry completion, and is able to achieve this with reaction vessel sizes of 5-10 microliter in both cellular and non-cellular assays. We expect our early inroads to be made in the basic and applied life sciences research market which is likely to be more receptive to experimenting with new technologies. Our platform’s high speed, sensitivity and accuracy, coupled with its generality/flexibility and its ability to ensure biochemistry completion, due to complete mixing, should be highly attractive in terms of the new science and biotechnology potential it would afford. We expect to deliver these capability improvements at significantly lower total cost-of-result as well, which should enhance our technology’s appeal.
Initial target customers currently performing microtiter-plate-based BAT activity already have plate readers and some level of lab automation based on their current testing regime and volumes. Current trends are towards partial, if not full automation, based upon ANSI-SLAS standards for microplates used in BAT; which the iPlate will be compliant. There is no risk for a laboratory to integrate the iPlate Platform into its existing processes and procedures. Our expectation is to acquire a market share of at least 5 percent within five years of first launch.
Integrated Fluidics intends to outsource manufacturing of the power supply, the stage and the iPlate, and numerous vendors capable of building such components to Integrated Fluidics’ specification have been identified. The power supply coupled with the stage is expected to have a cost of goods at introduction of about $3,000. The consumable iPlates, consisting of standard, bottomless 96-well, and, in the near future, 384-well microplates, are electro-kinetically-enabled through the addition of a proprietary printed circuit board in the base, and are expected to have a per plate cost of goods of less than $10 at volumes above 100,000 annually. Currently the company has developed and validated two 96-well iPlate variations that are ready for market, exposed electrode (Model 96a), silicone coated (Model 96b) and hydrophobic coated (Model 96c), and anticipates validating the technology in 384-well format in the near future.
Mid-term plans to integrate the iPlate Platform software API into fully automated dispensing and handling equipment provides another opportunity to become the BAT platform of choice, particularly if provided as part of an existing automation provider’s (e.g., Hamilton, Tecan, etc.) product.
Value Proposition and Strategy
iFluidics’ products enable customers to generate more accurate, timely, and cost-effective research results. Partnering with iFluidics helps companies to defend and expand their market share with a new technology platform that complements their existing business.
iFluidics‘ overarching goal is to bring to market our proprietary microfluidics-based technology in a way that maximizes shareholder value and, ultimately, improves patient health. In the near term, the objectives are to develop and launch the technology platform for 96-well BAT for life-science research. The company already has a proven iPlate Platform and a 96-well iPlate.
Immediately following Growth Stage funding, iFluidcs’ plans to launch into the US/Canada research market, commercialize our product lines, expand product lines to include 384-well iPlates, establish outsourced high volume manufacturing capability, and develop iPlate Platforms capable of using both 96- and 384-well iPlates and product variations.
Based upon existing product readiness, Management Team, and Market opportunity – and using discounted forecast cash flows, the company estimates a Pre-Funding valuation in the range of $15-21 million with potential company value greatly exceeding $100 million in a few years. Potential Investor exits range from sale of the company to a mid-size or large life sciences company, buy back of investment at a premium, or Initial Public Offering.