November 6, Singapore: MP Biomedicals LLC, a global life science and diagnostics
product manufacturer and supplier, announces the signing of an exclusive licensing
agreement with A*STAR’s Exploit Technologies on exclusive licensing rights for the "Virtual
Reaction Chamber" (VRC), a patent portfolio developed by the Institute of Bioengineering
and Nanotechnology (IBN), which covers a revolutionary new way of performing sample
preparation and qRT-PCR in a droplet.
As described in Lab on Chip 7 (2007) 27, Nature Medicine 13 (2007) 1259 and Angewandte
Chemie 47 (2008) 3900, IBN’s droplet-based technology radically reduces the time and
costs associated with laboratory testing. Harnessing magnetic forces, IBN researchers were
able to manipulate a droplet successively through nucleic acids purification and
preconcentration, followed by real-time qRT-PCR for gene detection. Tests have shown that
IBN’s VRC technology is as sensitive as, and around 10 times faster than available tests, yet
it could potentially be up to 100 times cheaper.
IBN Senior Research Scientist Dr Juergen Pipper, who led the research team, elaborates,
“Our VRC platform does not require additional equipment and can easily be adapted to a
diverse range of PCR-based applications. It is inexpensive and designed for single-use to
IBN has incubated the VRC and filed 5 patents on this technology platform. According to
IBN’s Executive Director, Professor Jackie Y. Ying, “This miniaturized device dramatically
reduces the cost of molecular diagnostics. Through our partnership with MP Biomedicals,
which has recently set up manufacturing facilities in Singapore, we hope to make
nanotechnology systems more accessible to benefit a wider range of users. This cuttingedge
platform represents one of our interdisciplinary research efforts, which have led to over
637 patent applications for our Institute in the past 5 years.”
The license agreement will enable MP Biomedicals to bring to market microfluidics q/RTPCR
systems for research, diagnostics and industrial use. The new products, which MP
Biomedicals plan to introduce to the marketplace in the next two years, will enable hundreds
of thousands of PCR users worldwide to perform distributed, point-of-interest real time PCR
reactions at a fraction of the cost of current systems and kits, and will, for the first time, open
the door for this highly sophisticated technique to users with low budgets and in third world
A member of A*STAR’s Biomedical Sciences Institutes (Co. Reg. No. 199702109N)
countries, where this technique was mainly not accessible due to high costs and lab
On sealing the licensing agreement with MP Biomedicals, Mr Boon Swan Foo, the Executive
Chairman of Exploit Technologies, said, “Exploit Technologies recognized at an early stage
the commercial potential of the VRC technology for disease diagnostics. We have gap
funded the project to bring this IBN technology closer to market. We are delighted to ink this
licensing agreement with MP Biomedicals, a global life science and diagnostics product
manufacturer and supplier, which shares our vision for VRC’s market potential. I would also
like to congratulate MP Biomedicals on its new state-of-the art facility at Pioneer Place in
Singapore, which will be used to manufacture the VRC Lab-on-Chips, in close collaboration
with IBN. This slew of R&D activities in Singapore will infuse new vibrancy into our local life
“Microfluidic RT-PCR will be the first of many solutions offered by the new MP Biomedicals
paradigm of "integrated lab in the box", i.e. bringing molecular biology and molecular
diagnostics to the field in the form of complete integrated systems for particular problem
solving,” said Mr. Milan Panic, President and CEO of MP Biomedicals of Santa Ana,
California . “Developing an affordable RT PCR system was the next logical step and
continues the tradition of MP Biomedicals, which is considered by customers to be one of
the leaders in molecular biology sample preparation of difficult samples with its affordable
FastPrep line of products, and in infectious disease diagnostics with confirmatory tests for
viral diseases. We expect to have complete integrated molecular diagnostics lab in a box
available to our worldwide customers within the next two years, and we expect that such a
system will bring a paradigm shift to the practice of doing life science research and medical
diagnostics, with the same magnitude that the introduction of personal computers and
networks brought to the IT world in the 80-90's," said Dr. Miodrag Micic, Vice President of
Research and Development at MP Biomedicals. The new RT-PCR system will be
manufactured at MP Biomedicals Asia Pacific Pte Ltd’s new state-of-the art facility at
Pioneer Place in Singapore and will involve continued close collaboration with scientists from
the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology.
About the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
The Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) is a member of the Agency for
Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. It was established in 2003.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Professor Jackie Yi Ru Ying, 42, was
handpicked by A*STAR Chairman Philip Yeo to lead the institute as its Executive Director in
March 2003. She has been on MIT’s Chemical Engineering faculty since 1992, and was
promoted to Professor in 2001. She is among the youngest to be promoted to this rank at
MIT. Under her direction, IBN conducts research at the cutting-edge of bioengineering and
nanotechnology. Its programs are geared towards linking multiple disciplines across all fields
in engineering, science and medicine to produce research breakthroughs that will improve
healthcare and our quality of life.
IBN’s research activities are focused in the following areas:
· Drug and Gene Delivery, where the controlled release of various therapeutics
involve the use of functionalized polymers and hydrogels for targeting diseased cells
and organs, or for responding to specific biological stimuli.
· Cell and Tissue Engineering, where biomimicking materials, stem cell technology
and bioimaging are combined to develop novel approaches to regenerative medicine
and artificial organs.
· Pharmaceuticals Synthesis and Nanobiotechnology, which encompass the
efficient catalytic synthesis of chiral pharmaceuticals, and new materials for
sustainable technology and alternative energy generation.
· Biosensors and Biodevices, which involve nanotechnology and microfabricated
platforms for the detection and treatment of diseases, and the synthesis and
screening of biologics.
IBN’s innovative research is aimed at creating new knowledge and intellectual properties in
the emerging fields of bioengineering and nanotechnology to attract top-notch researchers
and business partners to Singapore. Since 2003, IBN researchers have produced a total of
445 papers published/in press, of which 184 were published in journals with impact factor
greater than 3. IBN also plays an active role in technology transfer and spinning off
companies, linking the research institute and industrial partners to other global institutions.
As of September 2008, IBN has filed 637 patent applications on its inventions and the
Institute is currently looking for partners for collaboration and commercialization of its
portfolio of technologies. IBN’s current staff strength stands at around 170 scientists,
engineers and doctors. With its multinational and multidisciplinary research staff, the institute
is geared towards generating new biomaterials, devices, systems, equipment and processes
to boost Singapore’s economy in the fast-growing biomedical sector.
IBN is also committed to nurturing young minds, and the institute acts as a training ground
for PhD students and undergraduates. In October 2003, IBN initiated a Youth Research
Program to open its doors to university students, as well as students and teachers from
various secondary schools and junior colleges. It has since reached out to more than 23,000
students and teachers from over 190 local and overseas schools and institutions.
In 2008, IBN celebrates 5 years of innovative research. For more information, please log on
About MP Biomedicals LLC
President and CEO of MP Biomedicals, Milan Panic founded the company in 1959. It
operated under ICN Pharmaceuticals name until 2003, when it divested its Life Sciences and
Diagnostics operations and changed the name to MP Biomedicals.
The company’s headquarters is in Santa Ana, Calif., and regional offices are in Europe, Asia
and Australia. MP Biomedicals is world Wide Corporation that manufactures and sells more
than 55,000 products. One of the only companies in the industry to offer a comprehensive
line of life science, fine chemical and diagnostic products, the organization maintains a vast
network of global distributors with ISO-certified diagnostics products facilities in Solon, Ohio,
Burlingame, Calif. and Singapore, as well a distribution center in Strasbourg, France.
About Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd
Exploit Technologies is the strategic marketing and commercialisation arm of the Agency for
Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Its mission is to support A*STAR in transforming the economy through commercialising R&D. Exploit Technologies enhances
the research output of A*STAR scientists by translating their inventions into marketable
products or processes. Through licensing deals and spin-offs with industry partners, Exploit
Technologies is a key driver of technology transfer in Singapore. It actively engages industry
leaders and players to commercialise A*STAR's technologies and capabilities, bridging the
gap from Mind to Market. Exploit Technologies’ charter is to identify, protect and exploit
promising intellectual property (IP) created by A*STAR’s research institutes.