Over 10 years ago, a Public Health Service Commission Officer, Commander (CDR) Stephen M. Hewitt - MD, PhD, envisioned a critical need. The community needed a simpler, affordable instrument for biomarker discovery and validation.
As Chief of the Tissue Array Research Program in the Laboratory of Pathology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Dr. Hewitt had a great deal of experience with TMAs, and was constantly confronted with investigators who were shut out from being able to build their own TMAs because of instrumentation cost. These limitations became substantial boundaries for the wide-spread use of TMAs in research and immunohistochemistry.
Starting with a simple drawing in 2003, an Employee Invention Report (EIR) became a patent application, and eventually a patent. Patent in hand, the NIH, after extensive vetting, put his invention up for a SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) contract award.
What was once merely a drawing in 2003, is now being realized as a high quality, precision instrument with functional and speed capabilities rivaling automated instruments costing anywhere from 8 times to 30 times as much. Also, it is the only instrument manufactured and distributed wholly in the US, offering a full assortment of replacement parts and accessories (consumables) with exciting new capabilities all from the same company. By taking a highly priced, limited availability, niche market-focused instrument and allowing commercialization technologists to focus on end user functionality and cost, the MicaArray instrument is a “game changer”.
The instrument, named “MicaArray”, has been refined and developed to be commercially available by Micatu, Inc., a New York based company. Through the vision of Dr. Hewitt and the engineering expertise of Micatu, Inc., there is now an affordable, turnkey instrument that allows investigators the ability to construct their own TMAs rather than go to a core laboratory.
Leveraging Dr. Hewitt's experience as the co-chair of the subcommittee on immunohistochemical assays, of the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute, this new instrument is designed for the generation of robust specimen controls to improve assay validation and of clinical IHC in a routine Dx setting.
“Collaborating with an inventor, who is also a subject matter expert in the field of improving cancer research and diagnosis, greatly improves the probability of successfully launching a commercial product. Micatu, Inc., takes pride in the ability to provide access to researchers and pathology laboratories that could not previously access the technology because of economic barriers” stated Michael Jagielski – Principal Investigator and COO of Micatu Inc.
Micatu has extensive experience in developing and commercializing new technologies for the benefit of the public trust while at the same time, recognizing that commercial success is the primary driver of our business model.