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Turning Big Ideas into Small Products – The Dolomite Centre

£2m Dti grant enables launch of The Dolomite Centre, a new Microfluidic Application Centre in the UK

Royston, UK – Syrris, a leading UK developer of tools and technologies for R&D chemists, has announced the formation of a subsidiary company, The Dolomite Centre Limited (Dolomite), the first Microfluidic Application Centre in the world. With a Dti grant of £2 million, Dolomite will use its funding and technical expertise to design and build microfluidic devices and instrumentation, either to meet a client’s specification or to develop an entire instrumentation and device solution from scratch. Such technology can offer improved reproducibility, faster performance, and lower reagent consumption across a broad range of applications including, environmental monitoring, clinical diagnostics, food and beverage, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals and chemicals.

Dolomite will offer a complete service, including scientific consulting, device-design and rapid prototyping; through to full instrument design & development. Success will be based on an in-depth understanding of applications combined with expertise in glass microfabrication and microfluidics. As a subsidiary of Syrris, Dolomite has gained access to their technologies and microfluidic design and instrumentation development capabilities and in order to create a robust fabrication platform to build on, Dolomite acquired fabrication experts Scientific Consultants Ltd (SCL), in February 2006. Lee Jeffries and Paul Jeffries, formerly of SCL, have over 20 years of precision glass fabrication experience and will significantly accelerate the development of Dolomite’s capabilities. In addition, Dolomite has recently confirmed its Chief Technology Officer as Dr. Harold Swerdlow, formerly of Solexa Ltd., a world-renowned scientist with significant expertise in DNA analysis.

Dolomite has been funded to become a new facility in the Department of Trade and Industry’s Micro and Nanotechnology (MNT) Facilities Network. The £2m funding, part of the DTI’s MNT Capital Facilities Programme, will allow the Centre to provide open access to existing expertise and capability in microfluidics and glass processing. An announcement was made by the DTI in April 2006. Commenting on the launch of Dolomite, Managing Director Mark Gilligan said, “This is a very exciting time for Dolomite. This £2m Dti grant will allow us to make a substantial investment to further develop our microfluidic design and fabrication capabilities in a variety of sectors.”

Dolomite’s design and manufacturing service will use specialist glass technologies for microfluidic measurement and manipulations. The inertness and biocompatibility of glass, together with its optical properties make it ideal for use in an extremely broad range of applications, compared to other materials. Dolomite aims to take advantage of this technology to expand the market and offer high performance alternatives to the macro scale technology currently available. This will in turn help to address some of the present demands and problems encountered in industry such as the need for improved reproducibility, reduced testing volumes and equipment portability.