Photo-Molecularâ„¢ Biomolecular Separator

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) haslicensed seminal patents for Lab-on-a-Chiptechnology to Caliper Technologies, Inc., ofMountain View, California. The transfer of thetechnology contained in these patents was keyto Caliper’s first products and its rapidtransition from a startup to a publicly tradedcompany and world leader in microfluidicstechnology in less than five years. MicrofluidicLab-on-a-Chip systems enable experimentsordinarily performed in a full-sized laboratoryto be conducted on chip devices smaller than acredit card. The chip contains microscopicchannels through which fluids and chemicalsare moved to accurately perform assays,significantly reducing time and expense. Theinitial commercial uses have been in the areasof drug discovery and biotechnology. Over 35lead drug candidates have been discoveredwith Caliper’s technology.The Lab-on-a-Chip concept was proposed,developed, and patented at ORNL. Thelaboratory initially funded the effort throughits Laboratory-Directed Research andDevelopment Program, first by providingsupport for a small seed money project andsubsequently by funding genetic and proteinresearch. Both the inventors and ORNLtechnology transfer staff were involved inmarketing the technology.Caliper, with Agilent Technologies, Inc., ofPalo Alto, California, introduced the firstcommercial product in 1999. Caliper has sincelaunched its own product line, and offerscomplete systems to end users andcomponents to equipment manufacturers. Ithas installed more than 2000 bioanalyzers andhas sales of over 500,000 chips per year. As ofMarch 2003, Caliper had cash and marketablesecurities of over $140 million and a cumulativeR&D investment of $120 million. MITTechnology Review (May 2003) ranked it No. 2for the technological strength of its patentportfolio in the biotechnology/pharmaceuticalsector, ahead of major companies such asPfizer, Eli Lilly, and Roche, and No. 3 across allindustries for its “Current Impact Index.”Technology transfer from ORNL was crucial inmaking this phenomenal commercial successpossible.Lab-on-a-Chip won an R&D 100 Award in 1996,was named one of the top 40 technologies overthe 36-year history of the R&D 100 Award, andrecently received an Honorable Mention in theSeptember 2003 FLC Southeast Region’sExcellence in Technology Transfer competition.
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