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Novel microfluidic device gives new meaning to lab-on-a-chip

thinXXS GmbH (now thinXXS Microtechnology AG), Zweibrücken, is proud to announce the market introduction of a novel lab-on-a-chip device, which will considerably help pharmaceutical companies to discover new drugs in a number of disease areas. Developed and produced in collaboration with Sophion Bioscience A/S, Ballerup (Denmark), this microfluidic chip for the first time ever combines the advantages of silicon microprocessing, micromolding, and printed circuit board technology. As a result, the device integrates more functions than any other lab-on-a-chip in the market today.

The lab-on-a-chip, termed QPlate and manufactured by thinXXS, is a core part in Sophion's QPatch-16 system. This system allows for fully automated, 16-fold parallel measurement of ion channel currents in cell membranes (so-called "patch clamping"). Ion channels are important targets in drug development since their controlled blocking or opening may have significant therapeutical effects. So far, such measurements posed a true bottleneck as traditional methods were extremely time consuming and labor intensive.

"We are truly grateful for the support we received from thinXXS in the development and optimization of the QPlates", acknowledges Torsten Freltoft, CEO at Sophion. "Their expertise in microfluidics, micromolding, and microassembly was a vital contribution to the success we have had since we began shipping the QPatch system."

Made to a large part of plastic, the QPlate integrates three different functions: it houses 16 microfabricated silicon/glass chips for the parallel measurements, it provides the necessary microfluidics to make the device work, and it acts as both electric and fluid interface between the microstructures and the apparatus. "What Sophion asked us to do at the time was admirably forward-looking", comments Hans-Joachim Hartmann, spokesman of the executive board. "This disposable is a pioneering feat in the world of lab-on-a-chip devices."

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About thinXXS Microtechnology AG

thinXXS produces and develops microfluidic and micro-optic components and systems in plastics. Located in Zweibrücken, the company employs a workforce of about 30 people. thinXXS offers several microfluidic systems, their customization or integration into OEM products, as well as comprehensive contract services in product development and production. Among the markets, which profit from our high-tech solutions, are the life sciences, medical device technology, pharma, or automation.

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Your contact:

Christian Kirsch
Director Marketing
thinXXS Microtechnology AG
Amerikastr. 21
D-66482 Zweibrücken
Phone:  06332/80 02 32
Fax:      06332/80 02 22