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Miniaturization of immunoassays has numerous potential advantages over traditional ELISAs. Here we present a novel approach using patterned planar plates (PPPs). These ‘wall-less’ plates consist of a 6624 array of 2 mm diameter hydrophilic regions surrounded by a hydrophobic polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coating. Assays are performed by adding 2 mL droplets to the hydrophilic areas. These droplets are overlaid with an immiscible mixture of perfluorocarbon liquid (PFCL) that essentially eliminates evaporation. During wash steps, a thin film of PFCL covers the hydrophobic coating and prevents its wetting by wash buffer; as a result, the hydrophilic wells remain intact and inter-well cross-contamination is prevented. We compared the performance of three immunoassays using PPPs versus traditional 384-well ELISA plates. These included assays for soluble FcRH5 in human serum, SDF-1 in mouse serum, and human IgG in mouse plasma. The results show that the PPP assays were closely comparable to the ELISAs in terms of sensitivity, linearity of dilution, and sample quantitation. Moreover, the PPP assays were rapid to perform, easily adapted from ELISA protocols, and used 10- to 50-fold less sample and reagent volume as compared to 384- or 96-well plate ELISAs. As an additional advantage, PPPs conform to established microplate dimensional standards making them compatible with pre-existing equipment and workflows. PPPs therefore represent an attractive and broadly applicable approach to flexible miniaturization of platebased immunochemical assays. Lab Chip, Kozak KR et al., 2013, 13, 1342-1350. Learn more.
Despite significant progresses, cell-based assays still have major limitations part to because of their plate format. Here, we present a wall-less plate technology based on unique liquid dynamics named DropArray that takes advantage of hydrophobic and hydrophilic surface properties. Liquid velocities within the DropArray plate were quantified through fluid dynamics simulation and complete retention of suspension cells experimentally demonstrated within the range of simulated shear stresses. Subsequently, we compared the DropArray technology with conventional microtiter plates in a cell-based protein-binding assay. Although the wall-less plate produced similar results with adherent cells, the advantage of the DropArray technology was absolutely clear when semiadherent or suspension cells were used in this multistep experimental procedure. The technology also was evaluated for the cell viability assay and generated similar results to conventional plate format while enabling significant reduction in toxic reagent use. Finally, we developed a DropArray cell-based assay to evaluate a bispecific antibody designed to engage cytotoxic T cells and trigger tumor cell killing. This assay enables for the first time the visualization and quantification of the specific killing events and represents a very powerful tool to further investigate functional aspects of the cancer immunotherapy. Blood, Qinones GA et al., 2013, 121(7), e25-e33. Learn more.
Cell-based assays have become fundamental and irreplaceable tools in drug discovery and life science, providing increasingly accurate models for normal and pathological human biological processes. However, these tools come with limitations. As new cutting-edge assay formats that use only a fraction of the typical volume of cells and reagents become available, researchers can overcome some of the major limitations associated with cell-based assays. GEN, Zhang JW, 2013, 33(3). Learn more.
Curiox Biosystems, an emerging developer of innovative products for the life science, drug discovery and diagnostics markets, announced the launch of their new website www.curiox.com. “While we loved the look of our old site, we have been evolving as a company and needed a new way to showcase our new products and applications.” commented Namyong Kim, Ph.D., CEO of Curiox. “For starters, we’ve changed the design and simplified the navigation, so you can find the information you need more quickly. We’ve also added our new applications briefs and posters to the website.” A new registration system enables visitors and Curiox customers to quickly log on and download technical content available only to registered users. Once logged on, visitors can return and download additional documents without use of a password.
The interview was conducted live on 26 December 2009. Interviewee is Dr. Namyong Kim, Chief Executive Officer of Curiox Biosystems Pte Ltd.
PhD in Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and BSc graduate from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).
I have been in the scientific research and technical management biotech instrumentation field for more than 10 years. During 2004 - 2008, I worked as a Team Leader and Senior Research Scientist in Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, A*STAR.
While in the United States of America, I had the opportunity to work abroad in multinational companies (e.g. Agilent Technologies) and various small-medium enterprises. I was fortunate to learn the know-how to survive in the technology-based business world, and subjects like intellectual property rights, licensing and product development strategies.
Still, I find that building a start-up technology company is extremely challenging, possibly more so in this flat economy.
While working in United States, I felt an intense desire to build an organization. Intuitively, I wanted to make a contribution which, in the long term, would have a positive impact on society. I wanted to experience the opportunity to grow and challenge myself so that the process of life and the startup company will much more meaningful than merely achieving the scientific results and profit outcome.
I also believed that Singapore offered a golden opportunity where the promise of great rewards for medical technologies [startups] in Singapore was achievable. Thus this opportunity must be seized or would be lost (perhaps forever); and the timing is everything (it is now or never!).
During 2004, Singapore appeared the best place for this adventure although I have never visited it. There was strong commitment and support from Singapore¡¯s government and excellent infrastructure. I met a group of like-minded friends, and we managed to start Curiox in 2007. We won the first prize in eighth Start-Up@Singapore business plan competition and received $30,000 (a gratifying amount!). It helped to register the company officially. Soon, we found our investor, Nanostart, who rendered all the help and advice to progress from the idea stage to business plan to marketplace [and beyond].
And there is no turning back!
Curiox's DropArray technology offers a new way of running bioassays. Bioassay, simply speaking, means to do experiments to examine the characteristics of bio-molecules or bio-materials. We developed DropArray¢â plate, a next-generation platform to replace the then most popular consumable in running bioassays, a micro-plate.
With DropArray¢â plate, our customers in drug discovery, life sciences, and diagnostics can enjoy many benefits. They can run bioassays with a fraction of samples, average 1/100th, which is critical in areas of handling precious human and animal samples. In addition, the technology enables automation of bioassays with some challenging samples where current technology cannot do so because of its ¡®harsh¡¯ nature. Lastly, the technology reduces the cost and duration of bioassays significantly, by 50-80%.
At this juncture, we have received great interests from academic researchers, biotech- and pharma-companies in US, Europe and Japan. It is exciting and rewarding to see customers benefiting from our technology.
Every day is a challenge, but I have to do what is necessary to be done. And at each different encounter and challenge I faced, my character grew stronger and my assets also!
During the business¡¯s pre-startup phase, various difficulties arose. I had to deal with operation issues, equipment maintenance, not having direct access to lab and manpower resources, negotiating our licenses and so many other hurdles.
Now, I have to travel frequently. To quote an example, I travel to a different time zone every 7 ? 10 days over a period of more than a month. At the same time, I have to work with people logging on from different time zones, i.e. a research team in Singapore, customers in the United States, and business partners in Japan. I cannot find time to have enough sleep after long flights. Indeed, I am enjoying every moment of my work! However, I have to admit that such period goes over the limit at times, even from the standpoint of a CEO of a cash-strapped start-up company.
To be honest with you, I am not looking at new levels of opportunity.
Realistically, I am looking at my entry-level of opportunity. Since the start of the company, we have not yet accomplished our mission i.e. to put the needs of our customers first ? to benefit customers with many challenges in running bioassays through DropArray¢â technology and products.
This will continue to be our number one opportunity even in the year of 2010.
I am still in the process of chasing my dream and in that sense, it is important to remind myself what my goals are and why I do what I do. So, it is too early to give advice to anyone.
I would say two things:
- Start early. Whether you are starting on your own or partnership, try to start as early as possible. While managing a startup, be opened and get feedback from other entrepreneurs, advisors and mentors so that you can make an informed decision at every moment though lacking experiences.
- Enjoy the work. The chances are those starting and working at a start-up company will be required to work a crazy number of hours.
In my opinion, one has to enjoy the process (grow the business, make new friends). If it is not fun, what is the point of doing it?
Investors X Business Mentors X Friends. And multiply all these by three!
In Asia context, support is always there when you need them. This is because there is strong bonding culture (connections and networks) in the business activities here.
Thus, I am grateful to all the advisors, investors, mentors, and friends, who were there whenever I needed advice, comfort and insights.
Success is tough to define. I will say it is magnitude of happiness ? so many layers ? an experienced happiness that turned out to be an excellent value of product realization for customers, good returns for investors and rewarding workplace for colleagues.
I hope we achieve such success someday soon.
Author: Ai San Yip
Photographer: Erwin Chan
¨Ï GeneWired 2010. All rights reserved.
For additional information about CurioX Biosystems, please visit www.curiox.com
Disclaimer: The materials contained in this website are provided for general information purposes only. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information provided, the authors accept no responsibility for loss or damage which may arise from reliance on the information contained in this site. The statements and opinions contained on this site represent only the considered opinion of the authors and not intended to represent any real company or government of any country.
Curiox Biosystems has a vision to accelerate the progress of life sciences and drug discovery through better miniaturization. Curiox is a bioinstrumentation company enabling the miniaturization of bioassays for researchers working in life sciences, drug discovery, and diagnostics. Curiox's patent-pending miniaturization platform, DropArray™, provides up to 25 times savings in sample and reagent consumption, and up to 60 % reduction in assay time. The company is a spin-off from Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) backed primarily by Nanostart and Exploit Technologies, the commercializing arm of Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). For further information, please visit www.curiox.com.
Nicole Soo email@example.com 180 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 Block Q, Unit # 501 Singapore 569830 Singapore
Curiox CEO, Dr Namyong Kim, has won the A*STAR Scientist-Entrepreneur Award for 2010. This recent accomplishment for Curiox earns the young start-up its third award for the year. The year has started quite successfully for the Curiox team, with Curiox being invited as one of eight elite start-ups worldwide to exhibit at LabAutomation2010 Innovation AveNEW; as well as, being awarded Emerging Company of the Year 2010 by Biospectrum Asia.
The recent A*STAR Scientist-Entrepreneur Award was presented by the Agency of Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) to Curiox on the 14th of April. The A*STAR awards were introduced in 2007 to recognise outstanding staff for their contributions to A*STAR and to celebrate their achievements. Additionally, the awards serve to recognize staff and former staff who have successfully commercialized or spun off their research to the industry. Dr Kim is an ideal winner of the award, having spun out the research he led for four years on DropArray™ technology, at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), to the industry.
There were a total of 5 nominations for this year's A*STAR Scientist-Entrepreneur award, for which Dr Kim was selected. The evaluation panel comprised of Ms Yena Lim, Managing Director of A*STAR; Professor Low Teck Seng, Deputy Managing Director of A*STAR (Research); Mr Teoh Yong Sea, Deputy Managing Director (Corporate Planning); Professor Lee Eng Hin, Executive Director of the Biomedical Research Council and Director of Graduate Medical Studies at the National University of Singapore; Prof Chong Tow Chong, Executive Director of the Science and Engineering Research Council; and Dr Lim Khiang Wee, Executive Director of the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering. According to A*STAR the panel based their decision on the scientific and commercial impact of the spin-off, and industry recognition received by the start-up, under the leadership of the A*STAR entrepreneur.
Dr Kim commented, "I am truly honoured to receive this award and recognition from A*STAR. I would also like to thank my team, shareholders, Exploit Technologies and NUS Enterprise for all their input and guidance in bringing Curiox to the position it is today. As we expand into foreign markets this year, we look forward to many more successes."
Singapore, Mar 25, 2010: The pharmaceutical industry has been under increasing pressure to deliver drugs to the market faster and more efficiently. In an effort to combat this, Dr Namyong Kim, who leads a team of scientists at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), under the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore developed the new bioassay technology called DropArray.
The new bioassay technology is a miniaturization platform that can reduce the amount of material and reagent required to conduct a cell-based assay and reduce the reaction time. Curiox¡¯s patent-pending miniaturization platform, DropArray, provides up to 25 times savings in sample and reagent consumption, and up to 60 percent reduction in assay time.
Targeting research labs and high-throughput screening facilities in life sciences and drug discovery where bioassays are a necessary part of the research process, Curiox Biosystems was founded in 2008, as a spin off from IBN, backed primarily by Nanostart AG, a venture capital firm in Germany, and Exploit Technologies, the commercialization arm of A*STAR.
Curiox began its operations with an entrepreneurial team of four members. The founding team comprised experts in surface chemistry and engineering for the development of products; as well as an administrative officer to ensure smooth business operations of the company.
In the first year of its launch, Curiox received positive responses from its beta customers in Singapore, mainly from the research groups in the National University of Singapore (NUS), Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB), and Experimental Therapeutic Center. More recently Curiox has entered into a sales partnership agreement with Seoul-based BioBud covering the exclusive distribution of DropArray products in Korea, a growing biotechnology market.
Presently, seven laboratories worldwide are using the DropArray platform and the number is rising. Curiox has added three additional strategic distributors to its network. These distributors serve the US, South-East Asia and Japan.
Curiox has introduced new high throughput products to its pipeline. These are the DropArray HT200 instrument and DropArray 384 "wall-less" plates. The introduction of this new product line, will allow Curiox to cater to the high-end pharmaceutical, biotech and academic screening centers that require liquid handling systems to screen compound libraries for research and drug development.
Considering the opportunity, potential Nanostart has increased its stake in Curiox to almost 19 percent by a follow-up investment through its Nanostart Singapore Early Stage Venture Fund I. The investment is part of a second financing round, in which several experienced life science investors as well as a corporate investor joined as new investors in Curiox. With this Nanostart will continue to remain as the lead investor in Curiox. This second round of financing will allow Curiox to direct more funds to marketing and sales for penetration into the US and European markets.
The US represents Curiox's largest potential market with more than 12,000 suitable academic and government labs, which spent $14.30 billion on lab instruments, consumables and reagents in 2005, and more than 14,000 industrial pharma and biotech labs, which spent $37.40 billion in 2005.
Since its launch, Curiox's DropArray technology has contributed to enabling breakthrough clinical research in the field of ophthalmology. Curiox is now collaborating with the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) to develop a portable diagnostic platform, for near-the-patient diagnosis of eye-related diseases.
The new platform, for the first time, allows researchers at the SERI to perform assays of tears from the eye to detect proteins associated with inflammatory diseases such as dry eye. Currently, there are no products available in clinics, that are able to conduct such sensitive immunoassays and with several markers simultaneously. This will significantly enhance the quality of medical service.
Curiox's innovation continued to attract the attention of the investors. It was selected under Singapore¡¯s Technology Enterprise Commercialization Development scheme of SPRING, to develop table-top, DropArray-based near-the-patient ELISA instrument. Furthermore, International Enterprise (IE), an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry spearheading the development of Singapore¡¯s external economy has allowed Curiox to set up an overseas marketing office in the US, at a subsidized rate under its Singapore's International Capability Program.
Besides the commercials, Curiox received accomplishments for its research as well. Its DropArray was chosen as one among the eight emerging laboratory automation technologies worldwide by a panel of industrial experts. Curiox is the first Asian start-up company ever to receive the LabAutomation Innovation AveNEW Award. At the same time, Curiox performed beta-testing with leading pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the US for its high throughput DropArray HT200 instrument.
"Curiox's strategy is to establish itself in the research and screening markets with the DropArray HT200. Eventually, Curiox hopes to venture into the diagnostic and point-of-care markets, with its platform DropArray technology," says Dr Namyong Kim, while commenting about his future plans for the company.
On receiving the BioSpectrum Asia Pacific Emerging Company of the Year 2010 Award, Dr Namyong Kim, says, "Curiox has come a long way from its initial R&D phase to a start-up that is ready to enter international markets with products. To have achieved so much international, regional, and local recognition at an early stage, has been surprising for a small company in Singapore, but is evidence of the innovativeness of our platform DropArray technology. We are grateful to BioSpectrum for recognizing us as an emerging company in biomedical science for 2010, and we hope to put Singapore on the map as a hub for biomedical innovation in the coming years," he concludes.
Curiox was awarded Emerging Company of the Year 2010 in Asia Pacific, on 12th March, by BioSpectrum Asia. BioSpectrum Asia is a leading B2B media platform covering the life sciences industry in the Asia Pacific region. At present, BioSpectrum has a readership of over 40,000, of which a large majority represent key decision makers in the Pharma and Biotech industry. Curiox and other Asia Pacific companies were assessed on the basis of their current performance and potential for future growth to determine companies that shall emerge as industry leaders, in the biomedical science and biotechnology sectors, in the coming decade. BioSpectrum's editors evaluated all aspects of the organizations' performance and public profile, prior to nominating Curiox as the winner for the biomedical science segment.
Curiox's Emerging Company of the Year award comes hot on the heels of Curiox's LabAutomation2010 Innovation AveNEW award, earlier this year, as one of the industry's most innovative laboratory automation technologies. This magnitude of worldwide industry acceptance and excitement is welcomed by young Singaporean start-up Curiox, and comes at a crucial time, as Curiox begins to expand its products to overseas markets.
"It is truly an honour to be selected with top companies in Asia who have been around much longer than Curiox. These awards demonstrate to our customers, partners and competitors that our DropArray™ technology is innovative and valuable, and is poised to change the way experiments and screenings are performed in a laboratory," comments Curiox's CEO, Dr Namyong Kim.
Curiox's DropArray™ technology disrupts the microtiter plate market, which has seen little-to-no change in microtiter plate design for the last 60 years. Microtiter plates are the most popular disposable labware used in the life science industry to conduct research. Curiox aims to replace microtiter plates with its innovative "wall-less" Droparray™ plates. The unique Droparray™ platform offers better quality of data, 10 - 50 times savings in sample and reagent consumption, and up to 60% assay cost and time reduction. Additionally, DropArray™ platform enjoys effortless integration into existing liquid handling systems, through a simple plug-and-play approach.
Curiox Biosystems intends to penetrate the United States, European and Japanese laboratory markets this year through strategic partnerships and distributors.
Singapore-based Curiox Biosystems recently became the first Asian start-up company ever to be featured at LabAutomation's prestigious Innovation AveNEW, a program serving to highlight the industry's most innovative emerging laboratory technologies. Curiox shall be presented as one of eight elite start-ups, chosen from a pool of worldwide participants, at the Innovation AveNEW booth from January 25th to 27th.
LabAutomation is a premier industry event, known to be the world's largest conference and exhibition focused on laboratory products and technologies in Life Sciences. The international recognition received at LabAutomation2010 is a great achievement for young start-up Curiox, which was selected by a panel of international industry experts from the Association for Laboratory Automation (ALA). Only a select few start-up companies are chosen for the Innovation AveNEW program each year.
The annual Innovation AveNEW program is currently in its fourth year, and serves to afford emerging, start-up companies the opportunity to actively engage and participate in a world-class event by offering the Innovation AveNEW winners free exhibit space and travel. The program gives participants access to more than 4,000 purchasing influencers and decision-makers from more than 40 countries in laboratory automation market.
Curiox shall be maximizing the exposure received at LabAutomation2010 by highlighting its latest product, the DropArray™ Accelerator HT200, at the event. Presently, DropArray™ HT200 is being assessed by key market leaders in biotech and pharma.
Locally, Curiox has obtained further validation of DropArray™ technology's value proposition by closing a second round of financing with a group of corporate, angel and institutional investors. This second closing represents a significant accomplishment for Curiox, as a majority of the angel investors are veterans from the bioinstrumentation industry.
This second tranche of money shall allow Curiox to direct more funds to marketing for penetration into the United States and European markets.
"Curiox has managed to secure international and local excitement, with its revolutionary DropArray technology, in less than 2 years. This represents a significant milestone for Singapore, and is proof that Singapore-based biotech companies are able to compete on a global scale. This early achievement for Curiox was possible due to the ecosystem provided by Exploit Technologies and NUS Enterprise; as well as, the network and financial support offered by Nanostart Asia," says Curiox's CEO, Dr Namyong Kim.
For now, Curiox's strategy is to establish itself in the research and screening markets with the DropArray™ HT200. Eventually, Curiox hopes to venture into the diagnostic and point-of-care markets, with its platform DropArray™ technology.
Scientist of international reputation Former Head of Oncology Research at Novartis "Curiox establishes itself"
Prof. Dr. Alex Matter has joined the Board of Directors of Singaporean Nanostart holding Curiox Biosystems. Dr. Matter is best known for his contribution to the development of Glivec/Gleevec¢ç, one of the world's first tyrosine kinase inhibitor drugs against chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Starting in the mid-eighties, Dr. Matter led a team of close to 200 scientists at Novartis to discover and optimize the lead compound and brought it all the way through its first clinical trial in 1998. In a short span of 3 years, Glivec/Gleevec¢ç was given a very rare, fast track FDA approval in 2001.
He was the founding director of the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases and is Chief Executive Officer of the Experimental Therapeutics Centre (ETC), both located in Singapore. During his long career in the pharmaceutical industry Dr. Matter has held several positions of responsibility such as Head of Pharmaceutical Research at Hoffman-LaRoche, Head of Cancer and Viral Research at CIBA-GEIGY and more recently Global Head of Oncology Research, at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. Dr. Alex Matter, received his medical degree from the University of Basel. He has authored over 100 scientific articles and book chapters in the areas of oncology and hematology. He is the recipient of the 13th Warren-Alpert prize in 2000 and the AACR-Bruce F. Cain Memorial Award.
Matter comments his service in the Board of Directors of Curiox: "I am looking forward to work with Curiox which pursues innovative, cutting-edge technologies in the field of high throughput screening and establishes itself in a rapidly growing hightech market segment."
Namyong Kim, CEO of Curiox, believes that Matter¢¥s huge experience and network will assure the success of new DropArray™ products that are going to be launched in the next few months for the pharmaceutical and biotech market. Kim says: "The ready acceptance of the invitation by Dr. Matter in joining the Board shows the strength and promise of Curiox's unique DropArray™ technology in innovating the ways of preclinical drug discovery are performed. I look forward to working with him in building Curiox into one of major bioinstrumentation companies."
Nanostart AG is the world's leading nanotechnology investment company. The Frankfurt-based company provides venture capital financing for nanotechnology companies in various growth phases. It also provides the benefits of its experience and expertise to developers of financial instruments and to investors in the nanotechnology sector. For further information about the company, please visit www.nanostart.de.
SINGAPORE National Eye Centre (SNEC) researchers are testing a new technology, touted for its ability to accurately detect eye ailments more quickly than current methods.
If the results prove positive, leading to its use in clinics, patients suffering from conditions such eye allergies and dry eye can look forward to eye assessments that are quicker and cheaper.
"Now that we have established that the technology is effective and practical, we are testing it extensively to ensure it will work in a clinical setting," said Professor Roger Beuerman, senior scientific director at the Singapore Eye Research Institute, the research arm of SNEC.
Professor Beuerman is leading a team to look into the technology called DropArray, which unlike tests being used now, is able to immediately diagnose a range of eye conditions by identifying the proteins in a mere two microlitres of tear liquid - much less than a single tear drop.
Tests currently used to diagnose conditions such as itchy, watery or dry eyes require larger amounts of tear fluid, which are then analysed in a laboratory, making it time consuming and expensive. Eyes which are constantly itchy or watery could be due to allergies, while dry eyes is a common condition which occurs when glands around the eyes produce too little tear liquid to maintain enough lubrication and protection.
According to Curiox Biosystems which developed the DropArray technology, lab tests using DropArray cut testing time by 60% and consummable costs by nearly 90%. Curiox is a company that was spun off from A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research) unit, the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology.
"Together with Curiox, we are embarking on the development of a new point-of-care platform that can be used in the doctor¡¯s office, providing rapid assessment of a patient¡¯s condition," said Professor Beuerman. "We are excited over the prospect of developing new clinical diagnostic tests and methods that have the potential to raise the bar in patient care."
Curiox Biosystems, a Singapore based spin-off from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), has developed a new platform, DropArray™ technology, for conducting immunoassays using fluid volumes smaller than a single drop. The new platform will now for the first time allow researchers at the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) to perform assays of tears from the eye to detect proteins associated with inflammatory diseases such as dry eye.
This will be the first in the world. Presently, there are no products available in clinics, that are able to conduct such sensitive immunoassays and with several markers simultaneously. This will significantly enhance the quality of medical service. The success of this project has overwhelming positive implications for improving the quality of healthcare, as doctors in clinics would be able to prescribe proper treatment on the spot.
New Point-of-Care Platform For Rapid Diagnosis and Evaluation
Patient samples, from as little as 2 microlitres (which is much less than a single drop), can now be used to perform these tests, making the DropArray™ platform a technical breakthrough. Adding to their scientific achievement, researchers from SERI and Curiox are embarking on the development of a new point-of-care platform that can be used in the doctor's office for rapid diagnosis and evaluation of diseases such as ocular allergy, which is very common now.
According to Prof Roger Beuerman, SERI's Senior Scientific Director who is developing the platform from the SERI laboratory, previous attempts to conduct such tests were not feasible, as the scarce quantity of tear samples required instrumentation that was either unavailable in the market or too expensive and time consuming to be used clinically.
SERI intends to test this new platform with tears from eyes of dry eye patients, to detect proteins associated with inflammation that makes this condition uncomfortable and irritating for the patient. This would mark one of the first objective tests for this condition and should be welcomed by eye doctors all over the world.
"Locally developed DropArray™ technology, in close collaboration with a Singapore high-tech company, Curiox, is expected to provide additional competitive advantage to SERI as it can access the technology prior to other similar organizations overseas. We are excited over the prospect of developing new clinical diagnostics tests and methods, from research now enabled by DropArray™ technology. We and Curiox own patented technology for this new development," commented Prof. Roger Beuerman.
Currently, bioassays like the Curiox technology use large amounts of sample and reagents, making it laborious, time consuming and rather expensive.
Curiox has managed to simplify the process with its revolutionary patent-pending DropArray™ ¡°wall-less¡± platform. Their proprietary plates offer the same functionality as the conventional microtiter plates, but with the added advantage of miniaturization and automation. The key technical innovation is the integration of a proprietary immiscible fluid coupled to the surface coating of the DropArray™ plates that together function as ¡°walls¡±.
An Ideal Case for the Singapore Biomedical industry
The properties of the DropArray™ plate, together with the single-step automated rinsing station from Curiox, DropArray™ Accelerator LT100, will allow scientists at SERI to reduce their assay time by as much as 60% and using small samples from the eye of only one patient.
Thus, this will become a doctor's office test for diagnosis and follow-up for disease progression. Curiox's CEO, Dr Namyong Kim, added "The partnership between SERI and Curiox presents an ideal case for the Singapore Biomedical industry. The locally developed technology by a local high-tech company accelerates clinical research in Singapore, opening new possibilities for both the company and research organizations. I am particularly excited with the possibility of enabling ELISA with precious human samples of tears and other samples from patient's eyes".
Curiox's technology can also bring about huge advantages in research. SERI and Curiox are currently collaborating on a new project to develop a portable, point-of-care, quantitative diagnostic platform to conduct multiple anti-body based tests that will provide diagnostic information about eye diseases and also help the doctor evaluate the change in the disease, all using only very small droplets of fluid from human tears as well as blood.
SERI and Curiox are extremely optimistic about this endeavor, and see this as an opportunity to turn the spotlight on Singapore, in particular the Life Science and Clinical Research community, and showcasing us as a centre for excellence in the field of diagnostics technology.
Ravi Chandran Corporate Communications Singapore National Eye Centre For Singapore Eye Research Institute Tel: 6322 8394 / 81218569 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
SERI is the national research institute for ophthalmic and vision research in Singapore. Serving as the research institute of the Singapore National Eye Centre, and directly affiliated to the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, as well the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, SERI undertakes vision research in collaboration with local clinical ophthalmic centres and biomedical research institutions, as well as major eye centers and research institutes throughout the world. For further information, kindly visit www.seri.com.sg
Curiox Biosystems is a Singaporean bioinstrumentation company based in the National University of Singapore's enterprise incubator. The company is a spin-off from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN); backed primarily by Nanostart AG, a renowned German investment firm, and Exploit Technologies, the commercializing arm of Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Curiox Biosystems' vision is to accelerate the progress of life sciences and drug discovery through the miniaturization and improved automation of bioassays. For more information, kindly visit www.curiox.com
First commercialization success for Curiox Further aggressive expansion planned in Asia Long-term sights set on EU and USA
Curiox Biosystems Pte Ltd of Singapore has entered into a sales partnership agreement with Seoul-based BioBud Inc. covering the exclusive distribution of the Curiox DropArray™ Products in the Republic of Korea. The patented technology platform from Curiox facilitates the convenient and cost-efficient miniaturization of aqueous bioassays for drug discovery and other life science applications. The technology from Curiox enables up to a thousand-fold reduction in the amount of material and reagent required while simultaneously reducing reaction time up to by a factor of ten.
Sales are expected to reach a few million U.S. dollars over the next three years with potentially much larger revenues from new products currently in the development pipeline. Korea is one of most active countries in Asia in the biotech sector. According to the Bioindustry Association of Korea, the size of its biotech market was USD 2.7 billion in 2006, with an annual growth rate of approx. 18%. Curiox's DropArray™ product line is expected to take advantage of this rapidly growing market. Curiox's products will help Korean customers compete more effectively in this increasingly competitive market by reducing operating costs and time significantly, while enabling challenging research projects with limited samples and reagents.
Namyong Kim, CEO of Curiox, commented on the new agreement, "BioBud is the first international distributor for Curiox. The distribution partnership represents an excellent opportunity for both companies, Curiox and BioBud. The distribution contract with a leading Korean biotech company, BioBud, shows the level of trust in, and superiority of, DropArray™ products in spite of our company's short history. BioBud's extensive network and understanding of the Korean biotech market is expected to provide the ideal partnership for Curiox to enter and capture this market."
Jae Hoon Hwang, CEO of BioBud, added, "I am extremely pleased about the partnership with Curiox. Its DropArray™ products will upgrade BioBud's status in the Korean biotech market while increasing its revenue from distribution. On the technical level, it is my pleasure to introduce such innovative products to the Korean market earlier than any other major countries and to offer this great opportunity to Korean researchers. I am confident that BioBud's significant customer database and experience in research will speed up market acceptance of DropArray™ products."
Singapore and Korea are the first markets in which Curiox's DropArray™ product line is being launched. These markets provide a sufficient base of potential customers to provide reasonable revenues along with valuable feedback on the products. As a next step, Curiox intends to expand the distribution of its products to other countries in the Asia Pacific region such as Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia. This will be followed by Germany, the remainder of the European Union, and the USA.
BioBud, founded in 2000 by renowned professors from top Korean medical schools, is one of the leading private biotech companies in Korea. It has successfully raised a significant amount of investment and received a number of top government research grants which have enabled proprietary technical innovations. Most notably, the company has recently obtained CE approval for its diagnostics kit in partnership with a company in the USA. Along with its diagnostics business, the company has a distribution business focusing on biological reagents and instruments.
Nanostart AG, the world's leading nanotechnology investment company based in Germany, is taking an investment position in Singapore-based Curiox Biosystems, with a 16.5 per cent investment in the start-up.
A spin-off from Singapore's Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), part of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Curiox holds a patented convenient and efficient technology platform in miniaturized aqueous bioassays for drug discovery and other life sciences applications. Its ready-for-market technology allows researchers to conduct bioassays significantly faster and cheaper with lesser material, while maintaining the same level of flexibility and convenience as conventional platforms. It reduces the amount of material and reagent required by up to a thousand times, while simultaneously reducing reaction time by ten times. This slashes the time needed to run certain tests by more than 60 per cent and reduce consumable costs by nearly 90 per cent.
Curiox's target customers are research labs and high-throughput screening facilities in life sciences and drug discovery where bioassays are a necessary part of the research process. In particular, the U.S. represents Curiox's largest potential market with more than 12,000 suitable academic and government labs, which spent $14.3 billion on lab instruments, consumables and reagents in 2005, and more than 14,000 industrial pharma and biotech labs, which spent $37.4 billion in 2005. Curiox's technology comprises a chip, upon which the reagents are added, mixed and incubated, and a bench-top station, which automatically completes the rinsing process. Industrial customers will also be able to profit significantly from the reduction in costs for reagents as well as the savings in time.
For Nanostart AG, the investment in Curiox marks its first in Asia and is of strategic importance. Nanostart is investing in Curiox as the lead investor and is thus assuming an active role with its investment managers in the ongoing development of the company, jointly with Exploit Technologies.
"Our new investment holding, Curiox, is our first step into the highly promising Asian market," explained Marco Beckmann, CEO of Nanostart AG. "Singapore has established an outstanding position for itself in Asia in nanotechnology. Through our investment in Curiox, we aim to directly participate in the dynamic growth of this region and to live up to our claim of global leadership. Further investments in Asia will follow."
Mr Boon Swan Foo, Executive Chairman of Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd, the marketing and commercialisation arm of A*STAR, said, "We are very excited that the technologies from Page 1 of 4 A*STAR have received such strong interest from Europe, and more so to have Nanostart as a partner to help Exploit Technologies realise the full commercial potential of Curiox."
Singapore's IBN, from which Curiox was spun-off, is world-renowned for its expertise in bioengineering and nanotechnology research and is helmed by Prof. Jackie Yi-Ru Ying. She is among the world's leading experts in nanotechnology, and was among the youngest ever to be named a full professor at the world-famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston prior to joining IBN. She will hold a seat on the company's board of directors along with a representative from Nanostart AG.
Prof Ying said, "This technology has enormous potential to accelerate life science, drug discovery and clinical research, and we are delighted to partner with Nanostart AG to bring this technology from the bench to the market."
Curiox will be headed by Dr. Namyong Kim, who was the leader of the IBN research team that developed the new bioassay technology. The CEO-designate of Curiox began his career as a chemist at Agilent Technologies in the U.S. and received his doctorate from MIT. Before he came to IBN, he was the head of the Chemistry group for the U.S.
Said Dr Kim, "We have found the ideal partner in Nanostart AG. Already in the preliminary stages of their investment, we have begun an active exchange with their international network that will be particularly helpful to us in our commercialization efforts. I am very much looking forward to our cooperation."
Note to Editor: Rinsing bioassays is a common laboratory process. Scientists use rinsing bioassays, for example, in a diagnostic test where they want to see how a blood sample interacts with various other substances.
The chip used in DropArray is a rectangular glass slide with small wells surrounded by a hydrophobic coating that holds small quantities of the sample. Reagents and samples are added to the wells with extensive rinsing in between. The DropArray can miniaturize bioassays from 50-100 microliters down to 100 nanoliters. Chips with smaller wells cost more but allow higher throughput and lower average testing cost.
The Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) is a member of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Established in March 2003, IBN is headed by its Executive Director, Professor Jackie Y. Ying. The Institute's mission is to establish a broad knowledge base and conduct innovative research at the interface of bioengineering and nanotechnology. Positioned at the frontiers of engineering, IBN is focused on creating knowledge and cultivating talent to develop technology platforms in the following six areas:
Delivery of Drugs, Proteins and Genes Cell and Tissue Engineering Artificial Organs and Implants Pharmaceuticals Synthesis and Nanobiotechnology Medical and Biological Devices Bioimaging and Biosensing For more information on IBN, please log on to www.ibn.a-star.edu.sg
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Exploit Technologies is the marketing and commercialization arm of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Its charter is to identify, protect and exploit promising intellectual property (IP) created by A*STAR's research institutes. This includes facilitating the IP management process (i.e. the protection of inventions through patents and copyrights, etc), analysing the strength of our IP and the market that they could serve, and working with companies to commercialize the technologies.
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Nanostart AG is the world's leading nanotechnology investment company. The Frankfurt / Germany based company provides venture capital financing for nanotechnology companies in various growth phases. It also provides the benefits of its experience and expertise to developers of financial instruments and to investors in the nanotechnology sector.
For further information about the company, please visit www.nanostart.de
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A standard laboratory tool for measuring pharmacological activity of biological substances and performing other related tests may soon be replaced by a new miniaturized bioassay that will be faster, cheaper and more efficient for scientists to use, with new technology developed by Singapore's Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN).
The new assay, named DropArray, slashes the time needed to run certain lab tests by over 60 per cent and reduces consumable costs by nearly 90 per cent, while maintaining the same level of flexibility and convenience as conventional platforms. According to IBN Team Leader Dr Namyong Kim, "Our technology has the potential to accelerate life science, drug discovery and clinical research. Using our technology, companies can benefit from huge savings in time and money spent on research and development and this would have a direct impact on the cost of medicatio and new drugs for the consumer."
IBN's DropArray represents a unique integration of surface chemistry and microfluidics designed to reduce the amount of material and reagent required by up to 1,000 times, while simultaneously cutting the reaction time by up to 10 folds, making it faster and cheaper than standard bioassays.
Each DropArray chip comprises a small (1 inch by 3 inch) flat rectangular patterned glass slide, with hundreds or thousands of hydrophilic glass "wells" surrounded by a hydrophobic coating. These chips can be used for common laboratory processes such as the heterogeneous bioassay, which is typically used by scientists in diagnostic tests to determine how a blood sample interacts with various other substances. The "wells" act as small test tubes in which the reagents are added, mixed and incubated, and a bench-top station automatically completes the rinsing process in heterogeneous bioassay.
IBN's DropArray is able to miniaturize bioassays from 50-100 microliters down to 100 nanoliters, making it possible for researchers to conduct various cell-based tests including cancer stem cell immuno assays that had previously been extremely challenging with conventional technology.
Furthermore, the reduction in the volume of samples and reagents required provides similar advantages for protein-based assays such as ELISA with limited human and animal serum such as Human Leptin and Endostatin assays.
"This DropArray was realized through the efforts of an interdisciplinary team of researchers, which is typical of the project-oriented research at IBN," said Prof Jackie Y. Ying, Executive Director of IBN, one of the 14 research institutes of Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Prof. Ying was one of the youngest professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has received many awards for her research in nanotechnology. She was elected to the German Academy of Natural Scientists, Leopoldina, in April 2005 as the youngest member of the Academy.
"IBN was established less than 5 years ago with the mission to conduct exciting scientific research with significant commercial impact. Since then, we have filed more than 420 patents, and we are delighted that our entrepreneurial research team of one chemist, one biologist, one biomedical engineer, one mechanical engineer and one chemical engineer has taken less than three years to develop a novel technology platform that would contribute significantly to reducing the cost of drug development and medication. Curiox Biosystems, the company we set up to market this technology, is IBN's first spin-off."
Nanostart AG, the German-based world's leading nanotechnology investment company, has invested in Curiox Biosystems, which will further develop and commercialize the DropArray technology. Curiox will be headed by 2 IBN researchers, Dr. Kim Nam Yong, a Korean and Singapore permanent resident who received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Dr. Leck Kwong Joo, a Singaporean who received his Ph.D. in Medical Sciences from the Australian National University.
For Nanostart AG, the investment in Curiox marks its first in Asia, and is of strategic importance. Nanostart is investing in Curiox as the lead investor and is thus assuming an active role with its investment managers in the ongoing development of the company, jointly with Exploit Technologies, the commercialization arm of A*STAR.
"We are delighted to learn that Nanostart is planning further activities including a local office in Singapore. It would bring along a significant international network of business contacts, and help other local enterprises in creating high value added jobs based on home-grown, cutting-edge technologies," said Prof. Ying. She will hold a seat on the company's board of directors along with a representative from Nanostart AG.
The U.S. represents Curiox's largest potential market with more than 12,000 suitable academic and government labs, which spent $14.3 billion on lab instruments, consumables and reagents in 2005, and more than 14,000 industrial pharma and biotech labs, which spent $37.4 billion in 2005.
A leading German nanotechnology company had decided to make a 16.5 per cent investment in a Singapore-based start up called Curiox Biosystems.
Nanostart AG is widely seen as the world's leading nanotechnology investment company and this marks its first investment in Asia.
Curiox holds the patent for what's called the DropArray. This is a technology platform in miniaturised aqueous bioassays that allows researchers to conduct tests quickly and with lower costs.
It will cut testing time by 60 per cent and costs by nearly 90 per cent, without compromising the accuracy of results. So life science agencies and pharmaceutical companies can benefit from huge savings in time and cost.
Meanwhile, for consumers, it would mean cheaper drugs. Curiox wants to market the DropArray to research laboratories and screening facilities worldwide, especially in the US.
Curiox is a spin-off from Singapore's Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), which is part of Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Curiox is headed by Dr Namyong Kim, who was the leader of the IBN research team that developed the bioassay technology. The bioassay patent is just one of more than 420 IBN patents held by Curiox. - CNA/vm
Curiox Biosystems has developed a miniaturisation platform that enables cheaper and more efficient bioassays to be conducted, potentially slashing the costs of life science and drug discovery research.
The pharmaceutical industry is under increasing pressure to deliver drugs to the market faster and more efficiently as development time and cost spirals and the price of failure escalates.
In an effort to combat this, Curiox Biosystems has developed the DropArray, a miniaturisation platform that the company claims can reduce the amount of material and reagent required to conduct a cell-based assay by a factor of a 1000 and reduce the reaction time by a factor of ten.
It achieves this by integrating unique surface chemistries with a microfluidics system that enables test volumes to be reduced from 50-100µl down to 100nl.
Each DropArray chip is comprised of a small flat rectangular patterned glass slide, no bigger than 3cm by 9cm, that contains thousands of hydrophilic glass wells that are surrounded by a hydrophobic coating.
The wells act as small test tubes in to which the test material and reagents are added, mixed and incubated using an automated bench-top station. The technology was developed by Singapore's Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), with Curiox having been spun out of the Institute to commercialise the technology.
"Our technology has the potential to accelerate life science, drug discovery and clinical research," said Dr Namyong Kim, IBN Team Leader.
"Using our technology, companies can benefit from huge savings in time and money spent on research and development and this would have a direct impact on the cost of medication and new drugs for the consumer."
The company claims that the time taken to perform some tests can be slashed by up to 60 percent, with consumable costs being reduced by nearly 90 per cent. The company has highlighted that the DropArray enables researchers to conduct cell-based tests including cancer stem cell immunoassays that are extremely challenging with conventional technology.
In addition, it notes that the reduction in sample volumes provides advantages for protein-based assays such as ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) enabling tests to be run on small samples of human (or animal) serum.
CurioX Biotech triumphed at the 8th Start-Up@Singapore business plan competition, taking home the trophy and S$30,000 in prize money. Founded by researchers from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), CurioX has developed a technology, called DropArray, which accelerates life science and drug discovery research. The 8th Start-Up@Singapore competition had a record number of 902 participants, making it the largest in the competition's history. Mr Teo Ser Luck, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports graced the Prize Awards Ceremony, which was held at the DBS Auditorium. Start-Up@Singapore promotes the spirit for entrepreneurship and encourages new companies to start up.
Led by Dr Kim Namyong, CurioX consists of team members Dr Leck Kwong Joo, Mr Tay Kae Fong and Mr Lee Yong Yeow. DropArray is a unique miniaturisation platform, which allows researchers to conduct bioassays1 significantly faster and cheaper, while using lesser materials and maintaining the same level of flexibility and convenience as conventional platforms. CurioX envisions putting the DropArray into life sciences laboratories around the world, speeding up the discovery of for life-changing therapeutics.
The winner of the Youth Category (14 to 24 years old) was Agrotech, a company made up of students from Hwa Chong Institution. Agrotech has developed a product that treats ornamental plants infected with Ralstonia solanacearum. This is a common pathogenic bacterium that causes plants to wilt and has resulted in the devastation of crops. Agrotech is led by Mr Lee Li Long, with 8 other friends and team members, Mr Poh Hong Wei, Mr Oei Jun Long, Mr Ee Cheong Seng Elson, Mr Tay Jia Xi, Mr WuShao Zong Sam, Mr Pang Wei Pin, Mr Soon En Loong and Mr Lee Cheng Yi.
For the General Category, the first runner-up team was J-Invent Inc, who are developing products using polarisation image sensors. Targeted at the security and defence industries, such products can be used to detect latent fingerprints and camouflaged vehicles. The second runner up was TMN Bio-fuels, who will produce high quality bio-diesel, with lower CO2 emissions. The company's supply chain will engage India's rural community, helping to increase living standards here. For the Youth Category, three merit awards were given to Envirob, Fibertex and Healus. See Annex 1 for a brief description of all finalist teams.
Out of a total 234 teams, 12 finalists (6 from the General Category and 6 from the Youth Category) presented their full business plans at the grand finals, which took place on 26 May 07. In several cases, the semi-finals judging was done via video conferencing, as some teams were overseas.
"The calibre of participants this year is very high. I believe that quite a few teams have potentially fundable business plans and I am confident that some of these will translate into real start-ups over the next 6 months," said Associate Professor Wong Poh Kam, Co-chairman of Start-Up@Singapore Steering Committee.
In addition to the trophy and S$30,000 in prize money, CurioX will represent Singapore in the Intel-Berkeley Technology Entrepreneurship Challenge. This is an international championship event, where teams present their business and technology commercialisation plans. (See www.entrepreneurshipchallenge.org/ for more details). Past Start-Up@Singapore winners have done well at this event. Biomers won the US$7,500 Technology Impact Prize for its translucent orthodontic braces, and Infinity won the US$7,500 Global Market Impact prize with a new lens technology.
The first runner-up J-Invent will receive $10,000 and the second runner-up, TMN Bio-fuels, will receive $5,000. Within the Youth Category, the merit award winners will take home $1,000 each. However, more than just monetary prizes, winners and participants can leverage upon the business solutions and support services from Start-Up@Singapore incubator partners. Over S$300,000 will be given out through cash and in-kind prizes. See Annex 2 for details on prizes.
Start-Up@Singapore is organised by undergraduates from the NUS Entrepreneurship Society, with guidance from NUS Entrepreneurship Centre and NUS Business School Alumni Association. It is the world's first fully student-run national business plan competition. The organising committee consisted of a team of 37 students who have managed the entire competition, including organising the events, seeking sponsorship, handling the IT requirements of the website, marketing and setting up the judging panels.
"Organising the 8th Start-Up@Singapore competition has been a fantastic learning experience. It has been fun, stressful and educational - all at the same time. Moving forward for next year, we hope to be able to hit the 1,000 participant mark. In order to do this, the team will have to work hard to get in the funds, bring in new sponsors and find dynamic mentors, speakers and judges," said Mr Lee Jia Xing, co-lead of the 8th Start-Up@Singapore competition.
The 8th Start-Up@Singapore competition was launched in October 2006, and participants have honed their business skills at a number of Start-Up@Singapore events. Through events such as forums, workshops and boot camps, participants have learnt how to write comprehensive business plans, participate in elevator pitch sessions and present to investors. See Annex 3 for highlights of the 8th Start-Up@Singapore business plan competition.
The sponsors and partners of the 8th Start-Up@Singapore business plan competition are Ascendas, DBS, JTC Corporation, Microsoft, Netgear, Singtel, SMRT and ST Engineering.
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Join us at the second annual SLAS conference.
We are at Booth 35!
Find out more from us at Booth 1142!
Oct 13-17, 2012: New Orleans, Ernest N Morial Convention Center
Find out more with us at Booth 124!
Presentation: "Seamless transition and miniaturization of cellular assays with both adherent and suspension cells from 96- to 1536-well format by wall-less DropArray™ plates"
Speaker: Namyong Kim, Ph.D.
Come join us at Room Endeavor at 3.30pm!
Presentation: High Throughput Cellular Assays Using a "Wall-Less" Plate Format
Presentation: Run Cell-based Assays as They Should Run- DropArrayTM makes it viable
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