Mar 04, 2013 08:19 EST Kauppalehti, a leading economic newspaper of Finland, has published two articles about BioNavis. The first one is a review of the company development entitled “A Lesson to Technology Companies”, while the second article is an evaluation written by a senior venture capitalist Petri Niemi. Based on BioNavis' performance, the company is expected to grow to a 5-7 million euro business in a few years.
BioNavis Secures Five Times Higher Order Intake in 2012Dec 20, 2012 17:18 EST
BioNavis Ltd is a Finnish-Italian-Japanese owned company, based in Finland, focusing on developing SPR (Surface Plasmon Resonance) technology beyond today’s understanding and realizing the new development in manufacturing SPR Navi™ scientific instruments. The instruments are used for instance to develop new diagnostic tests, smart sensor surfaces, formulate novel drugs, or develop self-cleaning surfaces.
In 2012, BioNavis Ltd has secured five times higher instrument order intake than in 2011. This success is attributed to two new automated instrument models that have been introduced in last two years, to accessing new application areas where SPR technology can be applied and to increase in visibility of the unique MP-SPR (Multi-Parametric Surface Plasmon Resonance) technology in international events.
While in 2012 many companies are forced to restructure their operations to accommodate for the current economical stream, BioNavis has hired several professionals with deep understanding of the business in the UK, USA, China, Germany and Finland, effectively doubling the amount of personnel in the company. At the same time, BioNavis grows also in Finland and relocates its headquarters to Ylöjärvi, remaining in Tampere-region.
How to start an orange growth?
In 2012, BioNavis Ltd secured five times higher instrument order intake than in 2011, while the consumable orders have grown three times. The increase in orders can be attributed to several factors.
Firstly, BioNavis has introduced two new automated models in the last two years, the SPR Navi 210A (6-sample automation) and the SPR Navi 220A (well-plate automation), which have been received exceptionally well by the customer base and clearly increased the value of individual orders. While the well-plate automation appeals to traditional SPR groups, the 6-sample automation is popular with the material research groups, where the required sample volumes are higher but number of samples per experiment smaller.
Bring something new to the table
Secondly, the range of sensor surfaces has grown from pure gold and carboxymethyldextran-modified gold to materials previously considered as impossible for SPR measurements. While SPR Navi users have already earlier modified gold sensors with polymers including PP, PET, PS or cellulose, several new areas have opened up with the arrival of metal, inorganic and prefunctionalized surfaces. For example, the SiO2-coated sensors facilitate the formation of supported lipid bilayer, which can be verified using SPR Navi for thickness determination of the formed layer. As supported lipid bilayers are a widely accepted model for biological cell surface, this serves as a starting point for many membrane-drug interaction studies and membrane-bound protein interaction research. Another example is TiO2-coated sensors that are used for research of organic solar cells. While new surfaces attract new user groups for future orders, the increase in consumable orders points to increased amount of research performed on SPR Navi instruments worldwide.
Seeking research pioneers
Finally, over the last two years, BioNavis has increased the visibility of MP-SPR technology by participating in numerous international research projects, conferences, seminars and trade-shows. This is an essential part of the success. Traditional SPR has been on the market for more than 20 years and has successfully driven the message of SPR as an effective method for real-time label-free kinetic studies. BioNavis has to make researchers understand that MP-SPR can do much more than that and open up their minds for new types of questions that MP-SPR can help to answer. Now MP-SPR technology attracts research pioneers, who want to be the first ones to publish, who come up with brilliant new ideas, and introduce the technology to rest of the research field.
Offer a pain release
BioNavis is gaining more attention also in industrial applications. Surprisingly, among companies developing new in vitro diagnostic tests and drug development pharma, the fastest growing interest group is manufacturing. MP-SPR provides a solution to a current problem. With the arrival of nanolayers, new coatings, protective layers, functional surfaces and such, a technology that could provide a non-destructive measurement of physical, optical, electrochemical and biochemical properties in air and in liquid has been missing. For example, a thin metal layer is deposited on glass to provide additional functionality. The layer thickness and optical properties are measured in air (dry state) and in liquid (wet state) and a sample with protein is run to test if the functionality of the coating is as predicted and unchanging from batch to batch.
Growing in-house capabilities
Since the start, BioNavis has worked with the top scientists in the field. SPR Navi™ has been developed in collaboration with Dr. Janusz Sadowski, now Vice-President R&D, who has been the main driver in the research of SPR technique at VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland) for over 20 years, and Dr. Ulf Jönsson, the founder and former CEO of Biacore, the company that pioneered the use of SPR spectroscopy for protein interaction analysis. The technical director of BioNavis is a researcher that has developed a detector module for imaging spectrometry still used by NASA satellites.BioNavis has surrounded itself with capable companies and professionals that together amass impressive know-how and are not afraid to use it. In this year alone, BioNavis has hired several professionals with deep understanding of the field in the UK, USA, China, Germany and Finland. For example, Michael Robinson, a former North American Sales and Business Development Director of Biacore, President of QSense and Gyros is now building up the market in North America for MP-SPR.
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