Santa Fe Business Incubator Nets Big Boost from Los Alamos Lab

Modern flow cytometers were invented at Los Alamos National Laboratory and can be used to count and sort individual cells from a stream of liquid. Courtesy/LANL

LANL News:

  • BioScience Lab receives funding for cell-sorting machine

Los Alamos National Laboratory is providing funding to the Santa Fe Business Incubator BioScience Laboratory for the purchase of a commercial flow cytometer—a technology originally developed at Los Alamos and then later successfully commercialized by a Santa Fe company. The SFBI BioScience Lab is holding its open house today.

“The commercialization of flow cytometry is a true success for our sponsor, the National Institutes of Health, and it is a story that Los Alamos is proud to have played a part,” said David Pesiri, leader of the Richard P. Feynman Center for Innovation (FCI), the Laboratory’s technology transfer organization. “It’s fitting that the technology is coming back home to help boost the high-tech economy in the region. Not only did flow cytometers revolutionize the Human Genome Project, but this technology from the national laboratories is saving lives and delivering value to the marketplace.”

The Laboratory, through FCI, is providing $10,000 to SFBI for the purchase of an Attune flow cytometer. The SFBI is a not-for-profit economic development organization created in 1997 to support regional entrepreneurs with light manufacturing and laboratory space. The SFBI BioScience Laboratory is the region’s only shared facility providing state-of-the-art resources to entrepreneurs. The flow cytometer will provide an invaluable resource for start-up companies specializing in life-sciences applications, biotech and bio-medical devices.

In 2006, Los Alamos National Laboratory spun out a private company to commercialize a portable, low cost flow cytometer. This product was the culmination of more than four decades of programmatic research and development in the area of cytometry and cell sorting.

Los Alamos was a pioneer of flow cytometry. In the mid-1960s, physicist Mack Fulwyler married a cutting-edge cell-sorting system with fledgling ink-jet printing technology to create the modern flow cytometer. This platform gives researchers the ability to sort cells of different sizes and has been the standard in medical and biopharmaceutical industries to study and treat diseases such as cancer, AIDS, genetic disorders and other maladies.

“Los Alamos takes its responsibility to support and encourage private innovation very seriously,” Pesiri said. “We live in a complex and competitive world. Los Alamos understands working with private companies to develop resources and technologies that we can use to help fulfill our national-security mission is an important part of our Laboratory. Just as flow cytometry has evolved over the past 50 years, our approach to transferring technology to and from the private sector is evolving as well, and Los Alamos’s Feynman Center for Innovation aims to be part of how the U.S. gets it right.”


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