Five minutes instead of up to eight hours – a new technology developed by EPFL spin-off Lunaphore makes the process of immunohistochemistry (IHC) far more efficient while simultaneously ensuring very high quality. IHC is a widely used method in biology and medicine of staining selected proteins and other materials using labelled antibodies. In medicine, it is used predominantly for the diagnosis of tumours.
Collaborating towards a common goal
Lunaphore wanted to develop a near-series prototype as quickly as possible which could subsequently be manufactured in small numbers and made available to research laboratories. The spin-off company, which possessed considerable scientific expertise, was looking for the right partner to assist them on their product development process and with a great degree of flexibility. Lunaphore wished to be closely involved in the project while extending its know-how and aimed to carry out the final assembly of the prototype itself with a view to produce further devices independently if required.
Prototype for rapid market entry
To ensure that the prototype withstands everyday laboratory use and functions reliably, the laboratory staff must be able to operate the device simply and safely, and the key components have to be robust. The interdisciplinary team of QUO engineers, designers and construction engineers conducted the entire project as a one stop shop. They optimised central mechanical components, for example for storing and sealing samples and accessing the reagent bottles. They designed a professional-looking ergonomic housing, defined materials and manufacturing processes suitable for small series, and evaluated external partners for production of the components. The final assembly and commissioning took place in QUO’s workshop together with the client. Knowledge transfer is assured: Lunaphore is in possession of all the component specifications and can carry out assembly of further prototypes itself.
Vision for the next product generation
Within a period of just four months, the young company completed the transition from demonstrator to production-quality prototype and developed product development expertise in-house. In parallel, QUO designed a vision for the next production generation in close collaboration with the client. As a result of this vision, Lunaphore can expedite further technical development in a targeted manner.
Functional series near prototype
Simplified handling of the device
Enhanced visibility for potential clients and investors
Generation of ideas
Development of technical concepts
Development of creative concepts
Holistic product development
Coordination of production with partners
Commissioning the prototype
Knowledge transfer for Lunaphore