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Microvisk Technologies has developed a unique micro-viscometer, based on a novel patented Micro Electro Mechanical Sensors (MEMS) technology. Our main facility is located in St Asaph, North Wales.

Microvisk was originally founded in 2004 and in 2006, expanded its premises and undertook a clinical trial for PT/INR with the Royal London Hospital, which gave excellent results in comparison with a universally recognised laboratory-based industry standard. Initial research was carried out at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories in Oxfordshire. An increase in staff levels was seen in 2008 along with a move to a new facility with custom-built laboratories and additional office space, thus paving the way for future expansion. Microvisk is now funded through a mixture of private and venture capital investors.

Microvisk has established collaboration with The Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospital Trust. The company continues to undertake clinical trials in both this UK hospital and on sites in Germany to verify and validate performance whilst confirming user requirements. These studies are accelerating the development of the CoagMax® system technically and ergonomically, to produce an INR test system that combines laboratory quality results with ease of use. The trials have been facilitated by Trustech – part of the NHS Innovation’s network of hubs across England – and Health Research Wales.

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Microvisk technology is based on Micro Electro Mechanical System (MEMS) chip, embedded on a disposable SmartStrip. The MEMS chip incorporates a small and very efficient bimorphcantilever, which pulses in the sample, achieving high sensitivity with very little energy.

The cantilever is made up of several layers of materials and represents a truly integrated actuator and sensor device with its structural and electrical properties carefully chosen to provide relatively large out-of-plane sweeping motion, enabling the anchored beam to interact with the surrounding fluid. The resistance to sweeping and dumping of the medium can then be converted into an electronically suitable output by the integrated sensory module and passed on for data reduction and analysis.

The MEMS-based cantilever structure is realised using surface micro-fabrication techniques, thus leaving a wide range of substrates as potential candidates for packaging and test-strip integration.

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Self-monitoring/self-testing is the name given to the methods used by patients to test their own INR. The technology available for self-testing has improved greatly in recent years and results generally follow those generated by the laboratory. Dosing adjustments are still carried out by a qualified physician, but patients can often avoid unnecessary visits to see the doctor.

In 2006, a paper published in the Lancet reviewed many different clinical studies from around the world, showed significantly fewer negative outcomes and an improved quality of life inpatients self testing on oral anticoagulation therapy than those who self-tested as compared to those who were tested by conventional laboratory/clinic means. The benefits of moving from having a venous sample taken to finger stick sample plus having a reduced need to spend time in a clinic has resulted in more people on long-term OAT choosing self-testing.

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