In microfluidics, sharing is hard. However, practitioners are exploring new ways to share designs and devices along with their experience. Many thanks to Vivien Marx and Nature for giving microLIQUID the opportunity to describe our experience in Volume 15, Number 3 of the magazine NATURE.
Some of the key aspects of microLIQUID´s origins are set out in this review, as well as a description of our business model, which aims to manufacture new robust products and introduce them into the market.
Nature explains that microLIQUID was spun out of the technology centre IKERLAN in 2008. In microLIQUID´s first years, the customers were mainly academics requesting microfluidic chip development. Today, around 15% of microLIQUID customers are academics and R&D centres working with state-of-the-art technologies, and the rest are pharmaceutical and biotech companies, of which around 55% are in Europe and around 40% are in the U.S.. The review also points out that working with academics is essential for the future of the field because of the way it drives us toward next-generation solutions.
In 2013, the company switched from making stand-alone chips to designing and manufacturing microfluidic chips and automated instruments. This new value proposition reflects customer needs. It plays out well because it´s hard to launch a microfluidic device without knowing the automated instrumentation it will be associated with. This helps to explain why many microfluidic chips do not make it to market even after many years in development.