The European Commission decided to expand the existing photonics pilot-line offering by funding the establishment of MedPhab pilot-line under Horizon 2020, the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.
Photonics is based on combining optics and electronics, and it enables various medical applications from diagnostic devices to instruments for treatment. However, both photonics in itself and its areas of application are fragmented, which poses challenges to equipment manufacturers. Furthermore, the strict regulations within the sector slow down the introduction of new solutions. The orders for the pilot production line are made in a centralised manner and channelled to the manufacturer with the best implementation capability. The purpose of MedPhab pilot production line is to accelerate the commercialisation of diagnostic devices and instruments for treatment based on photonics, and to reduce the R&D costs.
Test production in three application areas
The technology validation of pilot production line focuses on three application areas intended for hospital use, home care devices and equipment for chemical diagnostics. In a hospital environment, the solutions assist doctors by giving them real-time information of how the treatment is progressing, without the need to send patient samples to a laboratory. The equipment for home diagnostics, on the other hand, can be used for monitoring how a patient is recovering from an operation or a fit of illness and for getting a wider picture of the situation than currently possible. Chemical diagnostics is about establishing a clinical picture or diagnosing an infection based on a serum, saliva or urine sample.
Cooperation within a strong consortium
The pilot production line is being developed in a consortium involving research institutes and companies from various parts of Europe. The role of research institutes is to develop new production technologies. The participation of companies with ISO13485 standardized manufacturing ensures the seamless transition from pilot line production to up-scaled production without a need for changing service providers. Use-case companies have been selected for the validation of the pilot line services covering both in-vivo and in-vitro domains.
– The results of the project will play a major role with a view to the competitiveness of next-generation wearable devices using optics. The cooperation will give companies an opportunity to get acquainted with new manufacturing techniques and pilot them with only a minor own investment, says Jyrki Schroderus, Director, Research & Technology at Polar.
– The project supports the scale up of Antelope Dx's silicon photonics functionalization and manufacturing processes. Having access to the knowledge at the various partners will definitively speed up the development process and translation into actual manufacturing processes, says Jan-Willem Hoste, COO at Antelope Dx.
– The new production processes will allow to integrate new photonic functionality in both the GENSPEED R2 analyzer but even more importantly also directly into GENSPEED's Testchips. This will open new fields of applications for the GENSPEED technology, says Max Sonnleitner, CEO of GENSPEED Biotech.
MedPhab is an initiative of the Photonics Public Private Partnership and connected to Photonics21 (www.photonics21.org). The project was granted (no 871345) EU funding amounting to EUR 15 million. The project is coordinated by research professor Jussi Hiltunen, VTT – Technical Research Centre of Finland. The consortium comprises:
- VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd
- Tyndall - University College Cork - National University of Ireland
- Joanneum Research Forschungsgesellschaft GmbH
- IMEC Interuniversitair Micro-Elektronica Centrum
- CSEM Centre Suisse d' Electronique et de Microtechnique SA
- Philips Electronics Nederland B.V.
- Jabil Circuit Austria GmbH
- Screentec OY
- III-V Lab
- Polar Electro OY
- Radisens Diagnostics Limited
- Antelope Dx
- GENSPEED Biotech GmbH
- ViennaLab Diagnostics GmbH
- Stichting Het Nederlands Kanker Instituut – Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek Ziekenhuis
- EPIC European Photonics Industry Consortium
- Amires s.r.o.