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EC expands photonics pilot-lines with €15M MedPhab project

14 Jan 2020

Aim of H2020-funded program is to accelerate commercialization of diagnostic devices, cut R&D costs.

The European Commission is to expand the range of photonics pilot-lines across the continent by funding to the tune of €15 million the establishment of a new line called MedPhab (running January 2020 through December 2023) to accelerate commercialization of photonics-based medical diagnostic devices and cut their R&D costs.

The new pilot line line will be funded under Horizon 2020, Europe’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

The MedPhab launch release states, “Photonics enables various medical applications from diagnostic devices to instruments for treatment. However, both photonics and its areas of application are fragmented, which poses challenges to equipment manufacturers.

“Orders for the pilot production line are typically made in a centralized manner and channeled to the manufacturer with the best implementation capability. The purpose of MedPhab pilot production line is to accelerate the commercialization of diagnostic devices and instruments for treatment based on photonics, and to reduce R&D costs.”

Three application areas

The technology validation of the new pilot production line is focused on three application areas: devices intended for hospital use; home care devices; and equipment for chemical diagnostics.

In the hospital environment, such solutions assist doctors by giving them real-time information of how a given treatment is progressing without the need to send patient samples to a lab, for example. The equipment for home diagnostics, on the other hand, can be used for monitoring a patient’s recovery and for obtaining a broader picture than currently possible. Chemical diagnostics is about establishing a clinical perspective or diagnosing an infection based on a locally-tested serum, saliva or urine sample.

Consortium cooperation

The pilot production line is being developed in a consortium involving research institutes and companies from across Europe. The participation of companies with ISO13485 standardized manufacturing is intended to ensure seamless transition from pilot line production to up-scaled production without a need for changing service providers.

MedPhab is an initiative of the Photonics Public Private Partnership and connected to technology platform Photonics21. The project was granted (no 871345) EU funding amounting to €15 million. The project is coordinated by research professor Jussi Hiltunen, of VTT – Technical Research Centre of Finland.

The consortium comprises: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland; Tyndall - University College Cork - National University of Ireland; Joanneum Research Forschungsgesellschaft; IMEC Interuniversitair Micro-Elektronica Centrum; CSEM Centre Suisse d’ Electronique et de Microtechnique; Philips Electronics Nederland; Jabil Circuit Austria; Screentec; III-V Lab; Stryker European Operations; Polar Electro; Radisens Diagnostics; Antelope Dx; Genspeed Biotech; ViennaLab Diagnostics; Stichting Het Nederlands Kanker Instituut – Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek Ziekenhuis; EPIC European Photonics Industry Consortium; and Amires.

“The results of the project will play a major role with a view to the competitiveness of next-generation wearable devices using optics,” said Jyrki Schroderus, Director, Research & Technology at Polar. “The cooperation will give companies an opportunity to get acquainted with new manufacturing techniques and pilot them with only a minor own investment.”

Jan-Willem Hoste, COO at Antelope Dx, commented, “The MedPhab 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.”

“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 our technology,” said Max Sonnleitner, CEO of GENSPEED Biotech.

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