An exciting and innovative startup company, BennuBio, Inc., is bringing a game changing flow cytometry process and technology package to market. The technology was licensed with the University of New Mexico through STC.UNM, the economic development arm of UNM, located in the InnovateABQ Rainforest Building. BennuBio is using this patented acoustic cellular positioning and analysis technology to develop new flow cytometers that transcend previous limitations of flow cytometry. Efficiencies are “up to 100 times more than today’s technology, or 200,000 cells per second” said BennuBio President and CEO Steven Graves, PhD, a UNM chemical and biological engineering professor who developed the technology (Albuquerque Journal). The technology is the basis of a new scalable flow cytometry platform that can address unmet needs in many profitable market spaces. Using sound waves makes sample preparation easier and faster, and it allows researchers to re-use samples for further screening. This provides any industry with a dramatic decrease in sample processing time, while maintaining accuracy in the results.
Imagine a pharmaceutical company being able to rapidly test new medications more efficiently and thus bring the medication to market sooner.
We had a chance to meet with some members of the BennuBio team. Gian Maestas, a Mechanical Engineer gave us a tour of their lab & office located in the WESST Building, a short walk North of InnovateABQ all within the Albuquerque’s Innovation District. Gian’s key role is precision prototype design and manufacturing for the Beta prototype of their custom Flow Cytometer, that will be soon be produced on a larger scale. Excitement is evident when we speak with Aurora Fabry Wood, PhD, Application Scientist, as she explains the capabilities of the instrument, which is able to analyze both single cells and cell clusters. She focuses her education and in-depth experience towards using BennuBio’s technology to solve complex analysis problems.
BennuBio’s System Highlights:
- Precision variable optical configurations
- Microfluidic system for sample delivery
- Acoustic cellular positioning
- Line-shape laser for illuminating multiple sample streams
- Collection of light scatter and multiple fluorescence colors
- Large volume sample analysis
- High speed camera (25,000 fps) for data/signal processing
- Custom software for rapid sample analysis
- No sample dilution allows sample reanalysis
- Wide range in particle sizes (single cells to large cell clusters)
A valuable resource for BennuBio has been the easy access to various initiatives supported through InnovateABQ, such as the FUSE Makerspace and CNM’s STEMulus Center. The FUSE Makerspace is a 13,400 square foot open community center with tools that allow members to design, prototype, and create micro manufactured products on their own. This includes training and access to use plasma cutters, powder coating ovens, metal lathes, precision tooling, metal benders, and 3D printers, allowing the agile startup to rapidly prototype precision designs on the fly. There is no need to send out a design out-of-town and wait, Gian sends the design to FUSE Makerspace and can walk over and pick up his prototype in a matter of hours. BennuBio also found their world-class software programmer, Alex Benedict, through the CNM’s STEMulus Cyber Academy and their Deep Dive Coding Bootcamp Program, held several times throughout the year.
This amazing startup plans to have production units available in mid-2019. BennuBio, Inc. will soon be building an in-the-field Beta unit for the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center to utilize this revolutionary technology, and help to refine the final product design.
“BennuBio is a perfect microcosm of what we are trying to accomplish in Albuquerque’s Innovation District. A technology licensed from STC.UNM, developed in office and lab space at WESST, prototyped at CNM FUSE Makerspace and supported by talent trained by UNM and CNM. That is the advantage of operating in physically-compact, technically-wired, walkable space. Speed, collaboration, access to tools and human capital are all hallmarks of this new district that is focused on the need of New Mexico’s innovators.”, said John Freisinger, Executive Director of InnovateABQ.
The BennuBio Team
Steven Graves, Ph.D
Director, Center for Biomedical Engineering at the UNM and the CEO & President of BennuBio, Inc.
Chief Technology Officer at BennuBio, Inc.
Chief Scientific Officer at BennuBio Inc.
Electrical Engineer at BennuBio, Inc.
Aurora Fabry-Wood, PhD
Application Scientist at BennuBio, Inc.
Mechanical Engineer at BennuBio, Inc.