May 28, 2004 — MicroFluidic Systems Inc. (MFSI) is developing a device to automatically analyze DNA during criminal investigations, courtesy of an FBI contract.
The Pleasanton, Calif.-based firm is serving as subcontractor to support the government in researching, developing and deploying a tool that would automate the hands-off extraction of DNA from forensic samples. The lab-on-a-chip device would separate DNA from two different types of cells for the purposes of human identification, a time-consuming process currently performed by lab technicians.
MFSI said it’s about 10 months into the 18-month project, but just received governmental approval to announce its involvement. The company expects to deliver a prototype by the end of the project.
“We’re basically applying technology that we have been developing mostly under defense contracts,” said M. Allen Northrup, MFSI’s founder, president and chief executive. He said the company plans other commercial spinoffs that could include cancer cell research.
The firm is working with prime contractor MAR Inc., a Rockville, Md.-based professional services firm that’s providing program management and administrative tasks. Financial terms were not disclosed.