Over 10 years ago, a Public Health Service Commission Officer, Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Stephen Hewitt, envisioned a critical need. The community needed a simpler, affordable instrument for biomarker discovery and validation.
As head of the Tissue Array Research Program, LCDR Hewitt had access to the state of the art technology, but it was expensive ($50,000-$250,000) and required training and extensive experience to apply the technology. 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”, which was conceived by LCDR Hewitt over 10 years ago, has been refined and developed to be commercially available by Micatu, Inc., a New York based company. Through the vision of Dr. Hewitt and 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.
Working directly with Dr. Hewitt as the co-chair of the CLSI subcommittee on IHC, the “MicaArray” instrument is also designed for the clinical setting, to generate TMAs of control tissues to improve validation and controls for clinical IHC in routine diagnostic laboratories.
“Leveraging the idea of an inventor who saw the need for a better, faster, cheaper “mouse trap" in the context of improving cancer research and diagnosis, 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.