The EUREKA research project OPTITUNE, lasted three and a half years and had a total budget of 1.3 million euro. Poul Svensgaard, who served as project leader and is head of business unit for DELTA, said his company now delivers a technology platform which enables other organisations to create new innovative applications within biotech, healthcare and other technological areas with high society impact.
In biotechnology and laboratory analysis, researchers are dependent on their capacity to provide diagnosis based on the results provided by light-sensitive devices: filters using ‘light grasp’ to perform measurements on medical samples. Svensgaard says DELTA’s new filters are much more precise than the ones available on the market until now, with higher transmission and effectiveness, making them usable in many new instruments and purposes. With a new level of sensitivity in the analysis, clinicians can make more precise diagnosis of, for example, cancer - a potentially life-saving improvement.
A BREAKTHROUGH FOR EUROPE
Svensgaard explains: ‘It is difficult for researchers to identify specific diseases, but enabling what we call high-sensitivity multi-color fluorescence speeds up the diagnostics work. By using the tunable interference filters, a researcher can get access to a more flexible category of analysis instruments, which is an opening to new possibilities. This enables doctors to determine a diagnosis quicker, more accurately and at a lower cost.’ The technology has the capability to quickly help determine which of many thousand combinations of specific medication cocktails works best on a given patient’s particular disease, making it an important tool for increasing its chance of survival during life-threatening illnesses.
'THIS TECHNOLOGY HAS BECOME SO IMPORTANT FOR US THAT IT IS NOW THE MAIN DRIVER OF PROFIT GROWTH WITHIN OUR BUSINESS UNIT.’
While one of the consequences of the global financial crisis has been major cost cuts within the healthcare sector in many European countries, pharmaceutical and medical companies have been holding back investments. Despite these challenges, the OPTITUNE project has been a commercial success for DELTA and its partners. ‘This technology has become so important for us that it is now the main driver of profit growth within our business unit at DELTA’ states Asser Kalsbøll, Business Development Manager at the company.
Svensgaard explains that, previously, US-based companies dominated the market for variable filters, but with the OPTITUNE project, Europe has taken the pole-position. ‘The project can be branded as a commercial breakthrough,’ he stresses. ‘I think this has been beneficial to the technology leadership of Europe in an area where it was until now difficult to find products that were not made by American companies. This is ‘made in Europe’ technology and we are now way ahead of the competition,’ Svensgaard adds. DELTA’s customers are now also developing new devices and technology based on the filters. Several of DELTA’s clients reported to have launched their own ground breaking instruments using OPTITUNE technology on the market with great success.