Optofluidics Inc. proposes to develop a novel protein-binding assay platform called the BioPrism. The Bioprism is a multiplexable, label-free, bead-based binding assay. The system will be ideal for in vitro molecular diagnostics, therapeutic development and molecular biology research. The need for more cost-effective high throughput assays is ever present in the pharmaceutical industry, which routinely tests millions of compounds in an effort to find a single effective drug ($19.9B Market by 2017). Molecular binding assays are the basis of the booming biomarker in-vitro diagnostics field ($20B in the US by 2014). There are several highly multiplexed bead-based platforms in the market, but these systems require secondary labels which are expensive and add steps to the assay. There are also successful commercial systems that do label-free protein binding measurements;however they have very little or no multiplexing capability. We propose to combine the best elements from both systems into the BioPrism. The BioPrism will use nanoscale optical devices (photonics) developed in the Erickson Lab at Cornell University and currently being commercialized by Optofluidics. Using a microfluidic flow cell, into which a bead-laden sample is injected, the platform can distinguish between bare nanobeads and protein-bound nanobeads using size- based photonic separation. Protein coated nanobeads significantly increase in size due to the small volume of the starting nanobead. By starting with fluorescent nanoparticles of different colors, where each color corresponds to a different probe, the method can be easily multiplexed. The size of the bead will determine whether analytes have bound and the fluorescence of the bead indicates which probe captured a target. In this Phase I project, we will manufacture our BioPrism chips, characterize the system using off-the-shelf nanoparticles, carry out binding assays to detect the binding of mouse IgG and carry out numerical simulations on the device design to optimize performance. In Phase II, we will focus on assay development and the design and construction of a "shippable" BioPrism system.
The proposed technology consists of a new type of biology test which is faster and less expensive than current methods. This test could be used by healthcare professionals to diagnose illness, by pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs and by researchers to study basic biology.