Fluidigm has announced that its Singapore biochip factory has manufactured and shipped more than 250 million microscopic NanoFlex™ valves. The 250 million valves built into Fluidigm’s integrated fluidic circuits (IFCs) would be equivalent to the number of valves required for all the conventional plumbing – both residential and commercial – in a metropolitan region the size of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Fluidigm’s NanoFlex valves stop or release the flow of liquids containing genetic samples and reagents in microfluidic chips. These chips are used by life science researchers to conduct endpoint, real-time and digital PCR analyses.
Scientists utilize this technology to explore everything from individual stem cells and cancer cells, to the traits of tomatoes being grown for your local grocery store shelf. These manufactured valves are so small and precise that they can isolate a single cell or DNA molecule, permitting researchers to detect the mutation of a cell into a cancerous state much earlier than standard techniques, or non-invasively detect Down syndrome in a fetus.
“Fluidigm’s integrated fluidic circuits are now being broadly used by leading life science researchers and companies around the globe,” said Gajus Worthington, Fluidigm president and chief executive officer. “Our IFC technology is delivering on the promise of tiny plumbing to enable breakthroughs in life science research today and into the future. This technology is revolutionizing many facets of life science by making existing workflows dramatically faster, better, cheaper and easier to accomplish.”
In 2005, Fluidigm opened Singapore’s first biochip factory and it is now the world’s leading manufacturer of microfluidic devices. Today, the factory manufactures both IFCs and associated instruments/systems, as well as conducts research and development in coordination with the company’s South San Francisco operations.
Worthington noted that when Fluidigm first came to Singapore it found a supportive partner in Singapore’s Economic Development Board. “Having the Singapore government ready, willing and able to help us, led to the creation of a world-class biochip manufacturing site with a world-class staff – resulting in a world-class outcome,” concluded Worthington.
“We are proud that Fluidigm has made Singapore its sole site to develop, manufacture and distribute high-density microfluidic chips for global biomedical research. Leveraging Singapore's engineering talent base, supply chain management capabilities and pro-business environment, Fluidigm and leading global medical technology companies are well-positioned to harness growth opportunities in Asia and beyond," said Mr. Beh Kian Teik, Director, Biomedical Sciences, Singapore Economic Development Board.
“I never doubted that one day biochip manufacturing would move into the mainstream and that Fluidigm’s Singapore factory would be leading the parade,” said Grace Yow, Fluidigm vice president of worldwide manufacturing and Fluidigm Singapore’s managing director. “Our multi-layer soft lithography manufacturing builds on technologies developed in the semiconductor industry. Singapore has a stellar reputation for its semiconductor manufacturing capabilities, so we were confident that we could find and train highly-skilled workers to build high-quality, high volume biochips for the life science industry,” Yow added.