Infineon Supplies Biochips and Complete Analysis System for Efficient and Safe Biochemical Analyses - Permits Dramatic Time and Cost Savings
The Flow-Thru Chip, co-developed by Infineon and its U.S. partner company, MetriGenix, Inc., is a principal component of the MetriGenix 4D Array System. The system, based on the novel and patented Flow-Thru technology, is an easy to use, reliable tool for researchers working in drug development and related fields. Users of this unique platform for microfluidic test and analysis realize significant advantages compared to other available biochips, including higher probe and target binding capacity, uniform hybridization kinetics, reduced sample size and sample volume, as well as reliability and reproducibility of output data. The complete system, including genetic hybridization and detection stations, software, assay biochips and other test consumables, is marketed in European countries by Infineon and by MetriGenix in the U.S. and other regions.
By further developing existing semiconductor technologies, Infineon is able to produce cost-effective chip-based solutions in the field of biotechnology, said Dr. Thomas Klaue, Director of Business Development and responsible manager for Infineons biochip activities. Together with the specialized expertise of partners such as MetriGenix, we are able to provide complete system solutions that use innovative technologies to simplify, improve, and accelerate pharmaceutical development and ultimately make new, more affordable technologies available for medical diagnostics and related areas.
Chip Structure Creates Differential Advantages
The Flow-Thru Chip is a miniaturized sample substrate made of silicon, on which hundreds of molecular level genetic tests can be performed simultaneously. Using a special etching process, about one million channels are formed per square centimeter of chip surface, each with a diameter of only 10 microns and a depth of 500 microns (one-half millimeter). On the Flow-Thru Chip, about 100 of these channels are used per probe molecule, and each chip is typically configured with 100 to 400 probe molecules or gene sections (spots). Probe molecules bind to the surface of the microchannels along the entire length, increasing the binding capacity by a factor of 100 when compared to flat surface biochips. Since the spot size and spot morphology is determined by the structured microchannels, the Flow-Thru Chip also offers the advantage of uniformity in how probes are spotted on the test area.
Each gene probe is designed by MetriGenix using a proprietary probe design program. The currently available tests are based on oligonucleotide probes, since it is known that these gene segments can be designed to a specific gene by taking into consideration the splice variants and discrimination between closely related and differentially regulated genes.
The microchannel structure of the Flow-Thru Chip significantly speeds test times compared to currently used planar biochip technology. Tests are conducted by allowing a hybridization solution, consisting of the labeled target material, to flow-thru the chip. Hybridization occurs via microfluidics and there is uniform hybridization even with small sample size. The flow of the labeled target through the 10 micron diameter channels increases the possibility of the target accessing the right probe, thereby reducing the time for hybridization to 4 hours, compared to flat surface tests that take 18 hours or more.
The 4D Array System is used by pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies for biological research, pharmaceutical screening and genetic or medical diagnostics. The system comprises the biochip, which is contained in a cartridge that houses fluid wells for delivery of the test substances and reagent, as well as a hybridization station and a detection station.
Tests available for the 4D Array target the largest segment of applications for microfluidic arrays in research purposes: Expression and discovery. Scientists can access products in four major areas; cardiovascular diseases, central nervous system disorders, oncology and autoimmune diseases. Additionally, researchers can have Custom Arrays designed that enable them to target specific areas of interest. The MetriGenix 4D Universal 96 array is targeted for SNP and genotyping.
Apart from the underlying technology, biochips can be distinguished by their evaluation method, which may be optical or electronic. Optical biochips and matching analysis systems, such as the 4D Array System marketed by Infineon and MetriGenix, are available now. Infineon also has developed an electronic DNA chip that is scheduled for release into the market in about two or three years time. A third technology, the Infineon Neuro-Chip, is still in the research phase.
For Infineon, one of the most important future trends in the healthcare industry is the convergence of therapy and diagnostics. Here, especially, the electronic DNA chip will play an important part in solving the task of determining the right drug in the right dosage for the right patient in the shortest possible time. Personalized medicine to be applied in the doctors office calls for small, cost-effective, easy to handle diagnostic analysis devices. Given the fact that, for example, it still takes an average of six months to find the right medication for a patient suffering from depression, the opportunities for biochips become obvious. New diagnostic methods such as biochips will make it possible in the near future to administer medication much more selectively and cost-effectively.
Information on Infineons biochip activities at www.infineon.com/bioscience
Infineon Technologies AG, Munich, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions for the automotive and industrial sectors, for applications in the wired communications markets, secure mobile solutions as well as memory products. With a global presence, Infineon operates in the US from San Jose, CA, in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore and in Japan from Tokyo. In fiscal year 2002 (ending September), the company achieved sales of Euro 5.21 billion with about 30,400 employees worldwide. Infineon is listed on the DAX index of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX). Further information is available at http://www.infineon.com.
Flow-Thru Chip and 4D Array System are trademarks of MetriGenix, Inc.
Dr. Thomas Klaue. Vice President Business Development, Infineon Technologies AG.Press Picture
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The Flow-Thru-Chip(TM) is a "Mini-Lab" on silicon. A special manufacturing process developed by Infineon is used to etch about a million pores with a diameter of one tenth of a human hair within a surface of only one square centimeter. Flow-Thru-Chip(TM) is a trademark of MetriGenix, Inc.Press Picture
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The Flow-Thru-Chip(TM) is a "Mini-Lab" on silicon. With a surface of only one square centimeter the chip can simultaneously analyze the reaction of up to 400 known genes to a specific substance. The chip is safely contained in a cartridge through which the substances to be analyzed are delivered to the chip. Flow-Thru Chip(TM) is a trademark of MetriGenix, Inc.Press Picture
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The U.S. company MetriGenix together with Infineon developed the complete Flow-Thru Chip? solution. This consists of Flow-Thru-Chips, a hybridization unit (left) and an evaluation apparatus (right) with an integrated high-sensitivity camera. Flow-Thru Chip is a trademark of MetriGenix, Inc.Press Picture
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