IMEC partners with Roswell on biosensor chips

May 05, 2020 //By Peter Clarke
IMEC partners with Roswell on biosensor chips
Roswell Biotechnologies and European research institute IMEC have teamed up to develop biosensor chips for infectious disease surveillance and DNA storage.

Roswell Biotechnologies Inc. (San Diego, Calif.) was founded in 2014 and has used advances in semiconductor technology to integrate sensor molecules into the CMOS integrated circuits. Roswell's firt chip is designed to read DNA; with future chips being planned for protein detection and DNA storage.

However, while the first chips are breakthrough developments higher volume production requires customization of in-situ equipment and/or the refinement of manufacturing processes. IMEC and Roswell have completed the proof-of-concept work and are now focused on final process development. The initial products are expected to be commercially available in 2021.

Roswell's first chip is designed to read DNA; future chips will be designed for protein detection and other diverse bio-sensing applications. The DNA reading chip is at the core of Roswell Technologies' platform for DNA sequencing, which could then be used for other precision medical applications.

"The urgent need for a new generation of rapid, low-cost, consumer surveillance and diagnostics tools has been made extremely clear in the current Covid-19 pandemic," said Paul Mola, CEO of Roswell, in a statement. "In that area, the Roswell molecular electronic platform will transform the way infectious diseases are detected, with powerful new capabilities that enable, rapid screening of many infectious diseases at once, or many viral strains, with portable or handheld devices."

The Roswell platform will be able to support tests for the detection and containment of infectious diseases, such as Covid-19, including sequencing, nucleic acid detection, antigen detection and antibody detection.

The technology could also have more direct application in the information technology as molecular storage of data is a potential application.

"One of the significant hurdles to commercializing molecular electronics is the need for costly customized solutions for large scale manufacturing," said Barry Merriman, chief scientific officer at Roswell. "IMEC has overcome those challenges by utilizing state-of-the-art semiconductor manufacturing technology coupled with its deep experience in biosensor technology to commercialize molecular electronics using standard tools. We are excited to be partnering with IMEC on this effort."

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