Cell Microsystems is a North Carolina-based start-up biotechnology company whose mission is to commercialize a novel, yet affordable, platform for the efficient isolation of viable, single cells or colonies from a mixed population while the cell/colony remains adherent or encapsulated to a solid surface. The company's "IsoRaft" technology is based on a unique cell array recently developed at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, and represents an ideal opportunity for the translation of an academic technology to the marketplace through the SBIR program. Cell Microsystems has obtained license from UNC to commercialize the technology for a broad market in academic labs, as well as in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. The products consist of disposable microarray (the IsoRaft Array) for culturing cells and a simple device for isolating the cell/colony of interest. Prototypes of arrays and devices have been completed and are being tested in a number of academic labs as an Early Adoption Program (EPA) at nearby research institutes. In this Phase I SBIR proposal, we will explore the feasibility of using the IsoRaft technology for stem cell research. Particularly we will focus on design and optimize the IsoRaft Array for stem cells, and develop strategies for cell imaging, identification, tracking and retrievl of targeted stem cells/colonies. The use IsoRaft technology for stem cell research will be conducted by our academic collaborator at UNC School of Medicine. Our goal is to expand the use of this technology for stem cell research to the large community in the life science market. The studies in Phase I will deliver a 1st generation commercial device and consumables that provide a flexible and powerful means to perform unique stem cell assay and sorting experiments at significant cost and time reduction.
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