12:00 AM
Apr 14, 2003
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Aviva: Celling chips

Aviva Biosciences Corp. hopes to ride the wave of laboratory automation by specializing in the manipulation of cells in labs-on-a-chip. The company identifies lab procedures that high throughput and automation have not yet reached and applies its combination of cell biology, chemistry and microfabrication to solve each problem. Its first product, a chip that performs patch-clamp measurements of ion channel activity, will be launched commercially later in April. A second product, based on rare cell isolation, is in development.

Aviva has initially focused on automating the study of ion channels. These membrane proteins regulate the flow of ions such as calcium and potassium in and out of cells, thereby controlling the excitability of excitable cells, including muscle and nerve cells. "Ion channels are attractive drug targets because they are very sensitive to pharmacological intervention, and they are highly tissue-specific," said President and CEO Norrie Russell.

However, he said, "the only definitive way to measure ion channel activity is to measure ion flow across the membrane,...

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