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Small chip, big win at international business plan competition

26 November 2010



AYOXXA CORE TEAM: (From left) Dr Stephen Yeung, Dr Andreas Schmidt and Assistant Professor Dieter Trau, holding the biochip.


TOP PRIZE: AyoxxA Pte Ltd emerged the overall best life science company at an international business plan competition, Best of Biotech 2010, bagging the top prize of 15,000 Euros
AyoxxA Pte Ltd emerged the overall best life science company at an international business plan competition, Best of Biotech 2010, bagging the top prize of 15,000 Euros. Founded in 2010 by Asst Prof Dieter Trau, Dr Stephen Yeung and Dr Andreas Schmidt as an NUS spin-off company, AyoxxA is developing a biochip platform that can detect and quantify up to hundreds of different proteins and disease markers in a minute drop of blood.

Its patented biochip technology is based on inventions made at Asst Prof Trau's lab at the Division of Bioengineering and Assoc Prof Wen-Tso Liu's lab at the Division of Environmental Science and Engineering at NUS.

At the Best of Biotech 2010 award ceremony hosted by Austria Wirtschaftsservice (AWS) held in the Austrian capital Vienna, the jury hailed their technology as a breakthrough in medical diagnostics.

Said Dr Schmidt: "The 1st prize in this competition is a crucial validation of our business concept. We have received a lot of interest from several international venture capital firms and pharmaceutical companies to discuss future collaborations and investments. We are launching a new generation biochip merging leading edge biology with information technology. Our protein chip precisely identifies and quantifies proteins, including markers for cancer, allergies, cardiovascular or infectious diseases."

Commenting on their technology which is based on protein microarray and multiplexing, its inventor Asst Prof Trau said: "On each chip, there may be 10,000 to 20,000 microbeads which are visually similar. But these beads detect a multitude of different proteins called 'multiplexing'. By using image recognition and bioanalytics our invention is decoding all microbeads and enables scientists and clinicians to accurately identify and quantify the protein that every single bead detects. Current multiplex methods often require specialised expensive and bulky equipment. Our method requires only an ordinary microscope to read the findings; there is no upfront cost."

Explaining the fully automated biochip manufacturing, Dr Yeung revealed that a beta-series AyoxxA Protein Chip I will be released for evaluation by collaborators and limited users in 2011.

Looking forward, the team hopes to further develop their biochip and get it ready for the market. Besides business partners, they are also hoping to conduct extensive studies with academia and labs round the world.

The spin-off, supported by NUS Enterprise, previously received an S$206,000 Proof-of-Concept grant from the National Research Foundation and is currently operating on an Innovation Grant of S$250,000 from the Singapore MIT Alliance of Research and Technology (SMART).

Please visit www.ayoxxa.com to find out more.

By Faculty of Engineering, NUS


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