Sensera (ASX: SE1) shares were boosted this morning by the news that it had secured “revenue-generating new customer traction” in the medical technology sector for its microdevices business.
The emergent Internet of Things (IoT) company said it is now collaborating with Harvard University which could potentially see its microdevices implemented in a range of medical applications.
More specifically, Sensera is now working with Harvard University’s specialised biotechnology unit called the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.
According to Sensera, its MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) technology will be harnessed by the institute for new applications in bioengineering.
To date, its MEMS-devices have been ISO 9001 certified and currently awaiting an additional ISO 13485 certification designated specifically for medical devices.
Slaying archaic market practises
Sensera currently designs and manufactures end-to-end sensor solutions and services for the booming IoT market, but its partnership with the Wyss Institute could now open the door for the company to spread its market reach by adding further medical device niche applications to its development cycle.
Most interestingly for consumers (and its shareholders) is that the two parties intend to create microfluidic devices, which mimic the functions of living human organs, including the lung, intestine, kidney, skin, bone marrow and blood-brain barriers.
One avenue of development is the development of alternatives to animal testing by developing microchips that can mimic the functions of natural organs, thereby removing the need for animals (and humans) from being subjected to drug testing that often has troublesome side-effects and highly questionable ethical foundations.
“These microchips, called ‘organs-on-chips’, offer a potential alternative to traditional animal testing. Each organ-on-chip comprises a polymeric membrane that contains hollow channels lined by living human cells. These hollow, microfluidic channels carry fluids in a way that accurately mimics various functions of the human body, including the respiratory, circulatory and digestive systems,” said Dr Richard Novak, senior staff engineer at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute.
“Sensera is a key partner providing critical microdevice component fabrication. Mechanical forces can be applied to mimic the physical microenvironments of living organs, including breathing motions in the lung and peristalsis-like deformations in the intestine. Sensera has been able to deliver consistent quality while meeting challenging specifications,” said Dr Novak.
Sensera has confirmed that it provides the Wyss Institute with “moulds to manufacture polymeric membranes” that are assembled in microfluidic devices. According to Sensera, these moulds are a key component in allowing artificial devices to mimic the natural physiology and mechanical forces that cells experience within the human body.
“Manufacturing these moulds is a new challenge for us. We’ve had to adapt our traditional MEMS processes and implement a very stringent quality management system that meets the demands of biomedical applications. Through our collaboration with the Wyss Institute, we now have multiple customers engaged in this technology,” said Ralph Schmitt, managing director and CEO of Sensera,
This morning’s news helped Sensera shares to reach as high as $0.20 per share, up around 11% from yesterday’s market close.