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Jul 31st, 2009
Caliper offers chip manufacturing services
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 > Stephane Mouradian, Director of Business Development

Stephane Mouradian is Director of Business Development at Caliper LifeSciences. In addition to a deep expertise in microfluidics, he has a broad background and 20 years of experience in biotechnology which he acquired through previous positions in academia and industry. Dr Mouradian holds a Masters in Chemical Engineering from Strasbourg School of Engineering (France) and a PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Caliper Life Sciences is a premier provider of cutting-edge technologies enabling researchers in the life sciences industry to create life-saving and enhancing medicines and diagnostic tests more quickly and efficiently. Caliper is aggressively innovating new technology to bridge the gap between in vitro assays and in vivo results and then translating those results into cures for human disease. Caliper’s portfolio of offerings includes state-of-the-art microfluidics, lab automation & liquid handling, optical imaging technologies, and discovery & development outsourcing solutions.
Caliper is recognized worldwide as a key Microfluidic player and is principally known for the Capillary Electrophoresis chips. Can you describe in more details your microfluidic activities?
> Stephane Mouradian
Since the late 90’s, Caliper has deployed its microfluidic technology through both its direct channel to market as well as through its partnerships and OEM channel. As you will see, our offering is much broader than just CE chips. On the direct channel side, we offer the Profiler Pro and LabChip GX product lines. Both these systems use our sipper chips which directly interface microfluidic channels to 96 and 384 well plates. Profiler Pro is a fantastic tool for drug discovery researchers as it gives them the ability to profile their lead drugs against 210 kinases in one day. The LabChip GX performs high throughput separation of plates of DNA, RNA and protein unattended and 70x faster than standard CE separation. In the pharma industry LabChip GX is rapidly becoming the standard technique for Antibody QC and an integral part of FDA’s Quality By Design (QBD) initiative for the growing number of biological drugs. On the partnership side, Caliper supplies commercial microfluidic chip kits to partners such as Agilent (2100 Bioanalyzer), Bio-Rad (Experion) and BioMerieux (Diversilab). In addition, we have a very active custom chip business through which we supply customers worldwide, more on this later. One important point is Caliper develops and manufactures complete microfluidic systems: assays, chips, instruments and software. Our Integrated R&D team has a wealth of experience on every aspect of the technology and we have active programs toward next applications both for the research and diagnostics markets. Through this expertise, Caliper has developed an expansive microfluidic patent portfolio (over 350 issued patents). We have an active licensing program and frequently collaborate with partners to enable them to put their own application on microfluidic chips.
The microfluidic fab in Mountain View produces disposable chips for your own product line and for other companies. Which fraction of your production is done for third parties?
> Stephane Mouradian
2009 LabChip GX. Courtesy Caliper Life Sciences
Currently, our OEM business is the majority of our chip production but our direct channel business, while currently lower volume, is increasing at a much faster rate. It is expected to continue doing so over the next several years as we are constantly expanding the capabilities and assay menus on our EZ and GX platforms.
Can you describe the services offered?
> Stephane Mouradian
As described earlier, Caliper has a very active and flexible third party channel. This ranges from large partnership programs where we develop chips and sometimes instruments and software for partners, to much smaller projects where the chips are designed by the customers and we perform custom manufacturing. On this point, Caliper is by far the largest producers of commercial microfluidic chips. We have world class quality systems in place and our ISO certified fab in Mountain View has literally made millions of chips over the past 10-15 years. Our experience and high volumes enable us to produce the highest quality chips at the lowest price for OEM partners as well as low volume custom chip customers.
What trends do you see today in the microfluidic markets?
> Stephane Mouradian
ProfilerPro Component. Courtesy Caliper Life Sciences
Integration is one: In our own R&D and our collaborative projects, we see a need to integrate more functionality on chips. This is driven by strong industry trends such as Point of Care diagnostics for instance which requires small footprint and minimal sample handling.
What are according to you the main challenges, and how does Caliper address them?
> Stephane Mouradian
Microfluidics is now a mature technology but it is also fairly recent and adoption of new technologies is always a challenge. On the protein separation market for instance, Caliper has effectively gained recognition of thought leaders in the industry who help us spread the message. In addition, Caliper has gained recognition from government regulators such as the FDA, which can also help spread new technologies once they are convinced of its benefits.

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