• Date:

Workshop – Microfluidics commercialization

Microfluidics commercialization – 40 years of hype and technology. Why did it take so long and what is next?

Seminar @EPFL Innovation Park

February 9th, 2017, 12h15-13h30
Room Saturne, Building A, 1st floor

By Dr. Erol Harvey


Recently we have begun to see the emergence of high volume, high value applications of microfluidics for diagnostics. However the commercial origins of microfluidics go back to the late 70s with researchers at ICI Winnington Research labs in the UK being the earliest pioneers. Why was so much promised so early, and why did it take so long to realize this promise? While the technology developed quickly, the disruption it causes to the health market slows commercialization. This was one of the first fields of academic research to be dominated by the now-pervasive “patent-before-publishing” dogma, yet in retrospect it is unclear whether this helped or hindered the rate of commercialization. Economic stress in global health markets gives a new urgency to develop novel, cost effective solutions. Commercially viable immunochemistry, molecular and even cellular-based diagnostics are emerging to address real patient needs. As the market evolves those business models with optimal integrated design and manufacturing strategies will succeed, as well as those that seek to exploit the data generated by these lab-on-a-chip devices.  

About the speaker:

Dr. Erol Harvey is co-founder and CEO of MiniFAB, a developer and manufacturer of lab-on-a-chip diagnostic devices.  Started in 2002, MiniFAB currently manufactures millions of nano-precise plastic medical diagnostic devices each year for clients around the world.  With a PhD in Plasma and Laser Physics from Monash University, he spent time in Oxford UK before returning to Australia. Erol has been involved in the commercialization of micro and nano technologies for more than 25 years and has global experience in working in and with major multinationals, start-ups and SMEs, Universities and Government Research Labs. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), and has served on many Government Councils and Advisory Boards. In 2011 MiniFAB was awarded the inaugural “Enabling Technology Company of the Year” and in recognition of achievements in entrepreneurship in emerging technology in 2012 he was awarded Enabling Technology Entrepreneur of the Year by the Australian Government Manufacturing Hall of Fame.

For more information, feel free to contact me: erolharvey@minifab.com.au.


Pizzas will be provided!


Limited to 20 participants – First come, first served




Georges Muller – PostDoc, Project Leader (FIT Grant)
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