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Channel-Free Microfluidic Technology for Molecular Testing Developed

Published: Saturday, February 08, 2014
Last Updated: Thursday, February 27, 2014
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The Smart FilmCARD would be the first microfluidic device in the diagnostics industry with no channels included in its design.

Rheonix, Inc. has created a channel-free microfluidic device, the Rheonix Smart FilmCARD™. This breakthrough will significantly decrease the research, development and production costs of microfluidic solutions and allow sophisticated diagnostic tests to become more widely available. The Smart FilmCARD is capable of complex fluid manipulations with potential applications in research laboratories, genetic sequencing sample preparations and in vitro diagnostic (IVD) assays. 

The Smart FilmCARD is a groundbreaking evolution of Rheonix’s existing core technology, the Chemistry and Reagent Device (CARD®). The CARD runs samples through a fully integrated molecular assay without user intervention based upon Rheonix’s novel solvent lamination capabilities. Compared with the CARD technology, the Smart FilmCARD uses the deformed gasket wall to replace channels for fluidic network formation. The channel-free design permits controlled movement of fluids anywhere on the Smart FilmCARD while virtually eliminating dead-volume losses typical of channeled devices. Without channels, reagents can be packaged and stored easily on the device to allow more varied applications than are currently possible in the life sciences tools and IVD markets. 

“The capability to reliably package micro-liter volumes of reagents into a device and pump those reagents in a manner that is not limited by predefined fluid pathways opens Rheonix to diagnostic applications not previously envisioned, or possible,” said Peng Zhou, Ph.D., Rheonix chief scientific officer. “For the first time, we will be able to work with researchers and developers to design a device with the cost structure and function that enables subsidy-free adoption of advanced molecular technologies to facilitate widespread diagnosis of diseases such as drug-resistant tuberculosis, malaria, dengue fever, Chagas disease and other human afflictions that cause serious illness and death throughout the world.” 

The Smart FilmCARD enables Rheonix to address diverse market requirements that are too difficult to perform with existing systems, such as automated next-generation sequencing library sample preparation, low-cost infectious disease panel testing and point-of-care applications. It also enables Rheonix to serve markets requiring small-volume reagent management, onboard reagents and simpler testing procedures while dramatically lowering the complexity of manufacturing molecular devices. 

“Simply put, we see applications for this platform across the full spectrum of molecular analysis applications. This elegantly simple approach to fluidic handling has the ability to address market needs around the globe with functional utility in applications as diverse as next-generation sequencing preparations and point-of-care molecular diagnostics testing,” said Tony Eisenhut, Rheonix president. 

The Smart FilmCARD development efforts will continue within the newly formed Rheonix Innovation Center under the direction of Peng Zhou. Zhou holds 14 U.S. patents. “For a researcher, there is nothing more exciting than being given a blank canvas and the tools to create solutions for pressing problems. The Smart FilmCARD is this canvas, and we will explore a variety of applications free from constraints due to cost-of-goods-sold limitations,” Zhou said.

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