IMT Fabs Cell Sorter
IMT, America’s largest pure-play MEMS foundry,is fabbing a MEMS-based cell-sorter which uses IMT’s cell sorting IP to take human tissue and sort out the good cells from the bad. The client for the cell-sorter is Owl biomedical.
“The sorting of human cells is becoming important in the treatment of cancer, development of regenerative medicines and the diagnosis of disease and chemotherapy efficacy,” says Dr John Foster, CEO of Owl.
The IP for the cell-sorter ws developed by IMT using knowledge gained from working in optics, 3-D microfluidics and electromagnetic actuation. Once bad cells are isolated it is possible to tailor treatments to repair and heal them.
IMT’s cell sorting technology is Fluorescent Activated Cell Sorting (FACS). “We have 100 people and 20% of the staff are PhDs,” says Craig Trautman, IMT’s vp for business development, “we learn an awful lot by working on so many projects across so many markets. We’ll take a product and do the design and development where we don’t compete with our customers.”
The company has developed IP in many areas such as RF, magnetics and optics as well as cell sorting.
“IMT is an exciting place to be,” says Trautman, “customers are coming to us with really interesting ideas. Sometimes they come with a concept on the back of a napkin and ask: ‘Can this be done?’”
IMT has a six inch MEMS fab in Santa Barbara capable of 45,000 wafers a year. It claims to be able to deliver the fastest, most sensitive and most complex MEMS products on the planet with high yields. “By the time we get into production of a MEMS product we would want our yields to be in the mid-90s,” says Trautman.