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Eliminating the Microfluidics Specialization Gap

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The microfluidics market is projected to be worth $8.78 billion by 2021, with microfluidic technologies reaching an increasing range of applications. 

We spoke to Gus Salem, President - IDEX Health and Science to discuss where the future of microfluidics may be headed, the company's continued expansion into the microfluidics marketplace and some of its future goals. 

AM: IDEX recently completed their second acquisition of a microfluidics company. Can you tell us about these acquisitions and the benefits they will bring?

GS: The addition of thinXXS Microsystems supplements IDEX Health & Science’s microfluidic consumables capabilities that started in July 2015 with the acquisition of Cidra Precision Services (CPS).  These capabilities diversify the IH&S business model beyond adding value to our customer’s capital equipment products and into the high value consumables associated with the hardware.  As the market leader in providing differentiated optics and fluidics for our partner’s instruments, the addition of consumables is a logical extension that will speed customer time-to-market and allow for optimization of instrument and consumable designs as well as manufacturing.

AM: What has been driving IDEX’s expansion into the microfluidics marketplace?

GS: As stated above, diversifying our business model beyond the instrumentation hardware into the associated consumables is the primary driver of our strategy.  This strategy has evolved from specific customer requests for us to “do more” in the areas of fluidics and optics.  Additionally, general market demands for suppliers to become more technology leaders and offer a wider breadth of capabilities is encouraging us to accelerate the strategy.

AM: Where do you see the microfluidics market heading in 2018? Which applications are most likely to benefit from advances in microfluidic technologies?

GS: In such a dynamic space as life science it is difficult to predict winners or “killer applications”.  Some areas we are watching closely are: organs-on-a-chip, synthetic biology, application-specific sample preparation and various areas of molecular diagnostics.

AM: What are some of the challenges preventing greater adoption of microfluidics?

GS: We believe that customers will benefit from having a partner that can design and manufacture both the microfluidic consumable device and the associated instrumentation within a single organization.  Currently microfluidic consumable providers are only able to address part of the overall analysis system.  We are creating an organization that will eliminate this specialization “gap” and bring greater value to customers who wish to partner on integrated designs.  Most notably, we see the combination of optics and fluidics as a key enabler of greater microfluidic consumables adoption.

AM: What are IDEX’s future goals, and how do you plan to achieve them?

GS: Our goal is to create an organization that is recognized as the leading global partner to the Life Science instrumentation marketplace.  This will be achieved by focusing our attention and resources on areas where we can have the greatest impact in Life Science instrumentation.  We aspire to create extraordinarily high value for our partners so that they simultaneously win in the marketplace and improve the lives of their customers

Gus Salem was speaking to Anna MacDonald, Editor for Technology Networks.

Gustavo "Gus" Salem  joined Idex Corporation in March, 2015 as President - IDEX Health & Science, LLC. He brings significant executive leadership as well as commercialization and operations experience representing emerging technologies in life sciences and diagnostics industries. Previously Gus was CEO at SISCAPA Assay Technologies, an early stage company focused on development of mass spectrometry-based diagnostic testing. Gus remains on the Board of Directors, a position he has held since 2012. While VP and General Manager of the Biological Systems Division at Agilent Technologies, he managed the mass spectrometry, genomics, and clinical diagnostics businesses amounting to >$500M annual sales. During his tenure, Agilent developed into a market-leading supplier of LC/MS and established market leadership in target enrichment sample prep for next generation DNA sequencing. Gus came to Agilent from Assay Designs, Inc. where he served as President and CEO. The company’s focus was on development of immunoassay reagents for pharmaceutical discovery and research. He led the Protein Separations Division of Bio-Rad laboratories including laboratory and process chromatography, and electrophoresis. Gus holds a BA in Physiological Psychology from UC Berkeley and completed graduate work in Psychobiology at UC Irvine and executive finance and business classes through Stanford University.