Archer Materials Limited (ASX:AXE) (OTCMKTS:ARRXF) (FRA:38A) has commenced building a lab-on-a-chip device (biochip) named A1 Biochip™ that is capable of simplifying disease detection at the point-of-care.
The materials technology company has made a step-change in advancing its graphene-based biosensor technology development to commence its lab-on-a-chip A1 Biochip™ project.
Developing the biochip in-house should allow Archer to accelerate commercialisation of the biochip.
Archer chief executive officer Dr Mohammad Choucair said: “It is a global challenge to develop innovative biodevices that make the complex detection of disease safer and more reliable.
“Archer’s A1 Biochip™ technology aims to simplify disease detection at the point of care to potentially address an emerging multibillion-dollar industry.
“Archer’s biochip development involves miniaturising medical lab tests onto an integrated circuit, a single chip, that is only a few millimetres in size.
“This is incredibly difficult, and there are very few people the world that can do this type of work, however, Dr [Rebecca] Soffe has already made exciting advances on this front in only a few weeks since joining Archer”.
Archer’s A1 Biochip™
The key features of the A1 Biochip™ include the on-chip microfluidic channels that allow for gas or liquid sampling (typical biological specimens) and the miniaturised electrodes for the biosensing areas (microfabricated using gold and titanium).
Biochip development will involve designing these components for further miniaturisation (micron to nanoscale), and are intended to incorporate graphene materials.
Both aspects are required to validate the commercial advantages of ultra-sensitivity and device integration.
Miniaturising and integrating a lab-on-chip device also provides improved accuracy and a substantial decrease in the time required to obtain a diagnostic test result, which are key commercial barriers to point of care medical diagnostic disease testing.
Specifically, the biochip componentry and design solves sample evaporation challenges and substantially overcome limitations in fabricating the active sensing areas to meet miniaturisation requirements for viable disease detection.
The biochip microfluidics also allow sample sorting, preparation, and handling – all on-chip.
Sample volumes as small as 3 microlitres can be used – comparable to the volume of a teardrop (6-7 microlitres) or blood droplet (50 microlitres).
Archer’s biochip development is led by Dr Soffe, who has started building the biochip in the semiconductor chip prototyping foundry alongside its 12CQ quantum computing chip development.
The company plans to translate its knowledge acquired from working with German Biotech partner, to its biochip development, and will continue exploring potential on-chip conversion of current diagnostics with the German Biotech teams.
Transition to pure-play deep tech
Archer will work with its German biotech partner to determine potential candidate biomolecules relevant to in-demand disease diagnostic tests, as part of the commercial development of Archer’s A1 Biochip™.
The immediate next technology validation steps will be performed in the Foundry, and focus on translating the biochip components onto silicon wafers.
This would enable the possibility of high volume chip production and integration onboard electronic devices – both required for any future retail applications of the A1 Biochip™.