Owl Biomedical Announces Commercial Launch of Benchtop Cell Sorters Employing IMT MEMS Chips


Santa Barbara, CA, 18 October 2012 – Owl biomedical and Innovative Micro Technology (IMT) today announced that Owl biomedical has officially launched its commercial cell sorting system (Nanosorter®) utilizing IMT’s MEMS cell sorting devices. Formed in late 2010, Owl has unveiled its easy-to-use, high-speed, disposable systems for sorting living human cells compatible with research and clinical environments.

“Efficient, safe and high-speed sorting of human cells is increasingly becoming important in the treatment of cancer, development of regenerative medicines and the diagnosis of disease and chemotherapy efficacy” said Dr. John Foster, Chief Executive Officer of Owl biomedical. “Of course the heart of our Nanosorter system is powered by the MEMS sorting chip technology licensed from IMT. The scalability, precision and speed of these sorting chips have directly enabled us to develop a system that can translate exciting and important cellular discoveries into potential cell therapies and cell-based diagnostics.”

Drawing on deep experience in magnetics, optics, microfluidics and wafer level packaging, IMT has spent years developing cell sorting technology. The cell sorter chip itself is a convergence of heterogeneous functions and disparate materials integrating optics, 3-D microfluidics and electromagnetic actuation. At the heart of the cell sorter is an ultra-high-speed microscopic fluidic valve which operates faster than any other in the world; 0 to 1.4 meters per second, spanning 25 microns in 15 microseconds. Sorting effectiveness is due to the device’s speed in which it diverts “targeted” cells to be separated from materials such as blood or bone marrow. By embedding this MEMS chip in a fully-enclosed disposable cartridge format, human cells can be safely processed and purified in a low-cost, high performance disposable that could empower the cellular medicine revolution.

“We are thrilled that Owl biomedical is leveraging IMT’s cell sorter technology for use in their Nanosorter systems” said Craig Ensley, Chief Executive Officer of IMT. “IMT has developed a repository of reusable technology supporting markets from magnetics to optics to RF. However, it’s especially rewarding when we see the culmination of those technologies applied in such a way that can truly make an impact in potentially saving lives. Sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in the “coolness” of technology but this time, there’s much more to it.”


About Innovative Micro Technology, Inc.

IMT is a world leader in the design, development and production of MEMS devices and is the largest pure-play MEMS foundry in the United States. Established in 2000, IMT designs, manufactures, tests and supplies products to the RF, biotech, biomed, optical communications, infrared, navigation and general markets servicing Fortune 500 companies as well as startups. For more information on IMT and its services, visit the company website at www.imtmems.com.

About Owl biomedical, Inc.

Owl biomedical is an emerging company developing and commercializing a high-speed, disposable cartridge-based cell sorting platform, the Nanosorter, for sterile, simple and flexible-volume cell purification. Cells purified using Owl technology can be employed for a wide variety of commercial applications, including: adoptive immunotherapy for treatment of cancer, stem cell therapies for regenerative medicine (e.g. stroke, limb ischemia, wound healing), cell-based cancer diagnostics and selected livestock breeding applications. The patented Nanosorter platform uniquely combines mechanically-enabled microchips containing the world’s fastest microvalve with the well-proven principles of fluorescence-activated sorting of cells. The Nanosorter is a simple, customizable, disposable cartridge-based sorting system that ensures rapid processing of large numbers of cells safely without aerosols and in a simple, readily deployable system. Owl biomedical was founded in 2011 and is based in Santa Barbara, California.

Media contact at IMT: Theodore Chi Director of Marketing and Sales (805) 681-2852, ted@imtmems.com

Media contact at Owl biomedical: Jim Linton President & Chief Business Officer (858) 382-7678, jim@owlbiomedical.com