SpinChip microfluidics device analyses blood at the point of care
14 November 2012
Norwegian company SpinChip has developed a microfluidics-based
chip contained in a portable device that analyses blood samples at the
point of care and provides immediate results.
Early, correct diagnoses are often of decisive importance in
hindering the development of serious ailments. The results of
analyses of patient samples (blood, urine, etc.) can be an important
element diagnosing illnesses. In most cases, such samples must be
sent to a laboratory for analysis, with the result that important
information may not be available at the start of treatment.
Doctors’ surgeries are already equipped with a number of
analytical instruments, but their range of applications is extremely
limited. There is need for a compact, robust, reliable but highly
sensitive machine that can perform a wide range of analyses, but is
not too expensive.
In SpinChip, the blood sample is drawn directly from the
patient’s fingertip into small analytical chips that are placed in a
microcentrifuge. Inside the chip, the fluids and dry components of
the sample are separated, launching a number of reactions that take
place in a series of tiny channels without any need for pumps or
valves; i.e. high-level microfluidics. The results are read out
optically within a couple of minutes.
While current solutions have only a limited repertoire of
analyses and are sometimes unreliable, the SpinChip technology has
the potential to perform a wide range of analyses rapidly, simply
and reliably. The analytical technology will be available in a
portable instrument, so that critical bioanalyses can be moved from
the laboratory to hospital emergency departments, bedsides and
doctors’ surgeries, making it easier to start the right treatment
sooner than would otherwise be possible.
The technology was invented by SINTEF senior scientist Stig
Morten Borch, and developed for commercialisation with the help of
internal SINTEF funding (SEP projects) and funds from the Research
Council of Norway’s FORNY Programme.
SpinChip was registered as a company in February this year.
SINTEF has licensed the technology along with two patents, and has
signed up Tronrud Engineering as a co-investor. Although the company
currently has no employees, Borch has been hired on contract, and
services are being purchased from SINTEF and Tronrud Engineering.
From now and until 2015, the technology will continue to be
developed, and the Research Council of Norway has contributed to
financing efforts via a User-driven Research-based Innovation (BIA)
project that is currently being launched.
“In the course of 2013, SpinChip Diagnostics will start to hire
its own staff, and in the first quarter of the year we will also
invite new investors to join the company. We have about 20 investors
in our sights,” says Jostein Bjøndal in SINVENT, SINTEF’s research