Novel Fluorescent analyser for Biomedical


Detectors have been at the heart of the explosive growth of applications in the fluorescence field. Being small and rugged, Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode detectors provide high sensitivity and portability. For biomedical applications, this translates into robust instruments that can be used to measure fluorescent signatures from single and multiple molecules. Geiger-mode avalanche photodiodes have been utilized effectively in Point of Care, DNA diagnostics, single-protein dynamics, twophoton fluorescence, microscopy and automated DNA sequencing instruments. Applications such as development of new drugs, diagnosis of disease, analyzing genes, proteins and cells require the timely and efficient detection of fluorescence emission. Multiple wavelength fluorescence measurements can be accommodated by using Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode arrays rather than single element devices, - features which are incorporated into the NUI, Galway Fluorescent Analyser.

Market Size: The overall market size for DNA and protein microarrays, is currently about $1 billion. Some analysts project that the market may grow to $40 billion by 2010, with hospitals and clinics being the primary users and the pharmaceuticals industry, the secondary according to Frost & Sullivan (F&S). The DNA-microarray market is expected to reach $3.6 billion this year (2006), according to Control and Instrumentation magazine. According to F&S, the world DNA-array market generated approximately $596 million in 2003. This market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.7% through 2010. DNA Sequencing according to Simon Bennett of Solexa Ltd., the 2004 market for sequencing in basic research is estimated to be around US$1 billion. F&S predicts that revenue for the total proteomics market will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12%, rising from roughly $1,650 million in 2002 to approximately $3,700 million in 2009. Again according to F&S, the world market for protein-array technologies, currently in its nascent stage, is expected to see a phenomenal rate of growth from $41 million in 2001 to $665 million in 2007, representing a compound annual growth rate of 59%.

Technology Description: Physicists at NUI, Galway have developed a fluorescent analyzer for the detection and characterisation of short-lived fluorescence, and also longer phosphorescent lifetimes. As outlined, this system will have many biomedical applications. In the fluorescent analyser avalanche photodiodes operate in Geiger-mode which allows for single or multiple channel measurements with its sensitive, solid-state excitation and detection of fluorescence labeled material. A prototype instrument has been constructed to demonstrate the functioning of the optical detection technology, and as a prototype detection system for point of care (POC) diagnostics for testing in laboratories.

The analyzer includes Geiger mode Avalanche photodiode devices, which together with the novel active quench detection circuitry, enable the devices to count single photons of light. The advantages of utilising these devices in the design include high quantum efficiency, small size and cost, simplicity, and extreme ruggedness (even against accidental power-on over-illumination) and long useful life compared to conventional or micro-channel photomultipliers.

Principal Investigators: Dr Don Phelan and Prof. Michael Redfern, Exp. Physics, NUI Galway.

Competitive Advantage and IP Status: The NUI, Galway team have incorporated numerous technological advantages and developments in their instrument design. These include a high efficiency solid state excitation method, collection, and solid state detection system. With these technological advantages, the instrument enables the detection of low target concentration, and meet the requirements for high analytical precision. Other competitive advantages include robustness and portability. A patent application has been filed to protect the IP relating to the novel technological developments in the instrument design and operation.

Type of Business Sought Licensing opportunities, joint ventures, codevelopment or funding to set up a spin out company.

Contacts
Dr. Ruairi Friel,
Commercialisation Executive, TTO
Ruairi.Friel@nuigalway.ie
Tel: +353 (0)91 495826

Dr. James Walsh Enterprise Ireland, Biotechnology Commercialisation, (EI Bio), NUI, Galway. Phone: +353-91 492093, Fax: +353-91-495683 Email: James.Walsh@enterprise-ireland.com

NUI,Galway is the owner of all IP.

EI Bio works in partnership with NUI, Galway to commercialise the technology.