Metrohm DropSens (MDS, http://www.dropsens.com/) is a Spanish entity linked to Swiss large industry since 2017. It was founded in 2006 and it is focused in the design, fabrication and commercialization of electrochemical screen-printed devices that are used as (bio)sensors, as well as on the development of small and portable scientific instrumentation for clinical, environmental or agri-food analysis using electrochemical and spectroscopic techniques. DropSens was awarded as the best Spanish Innovative Technology-BasedFirm (EIBT) by the National Association of Spanish CEEIs (ANCES) due to its multidisciplinary research team including chemists, physicists, electronic engineers and software developers. The activities of the company, from designing and manufacturing of electrochemical transducers based on ‘thin and thick film technology’, surface modification and characterization, manufacturing of portable electrochemical instrumentation place DropSens as an essential partner in this project. The company has access to resources for characterization of surfaces (SEM, TEM, AFM, XPS), lithographic and sputtering services. DropSens is an ISO9001 quality certified company and an ISO13485 certified company for the ‘Manufacturing of sensors for medical devices’ playing a key role for the development of devices addressed to the in vitro diagnostic market. DropSens distributes its products worldwide (in more than 60 countries: USA, UK, China, Brazil, India through distributors or direct relationship with customers. Every year the company attends around 20 shows or conferences worldwide to disseminate and promote research activities as well as product capabilities.
The company has been working in about 4 research projects/year (regional, national and international), among others: EUROSTARS project, FP7, H2020 projects and ERANET (MANUNET, MERANET, EURONANOMED and MARTERA) projects. Thus, Research Projects Management as well as management of Research results to be turned into products has been the continuous work of the management team during DropSens/MDS lifetime. Considering all the products in DropSens/MDS catalogue have been obtained as products of R&D projects a commercialization enhanced vision during design and prototyping activities is one of the main tasks of the Company.
R&D Department of Metrohm DropSens already has experience in the detection of glucose, lactate and some ions (Na, K, Cl) due the participation in other European projects (FP7-Bioenergy and H2020-ChemSens-Graphene Flagship). Even in the ChemSens project Dropsens has gained experience dealing with wearable and non invasive electrochemical sensors used with sweat samples. The company is certified in the ISO 13485 for the Manufacturing of sensors for medical devices so there is enough knowledge in the company to scale up the manufacturing process of developed sensors when they need to reach the market accordingly to strict regulatory requirements. DropSens has experience as well in the design and development of electrochemical instrumentation for recording the signals produced by the sensors (project AMI-Euroananomed). These POC devices have all the electrochemical techniques needed for the detection step and the connectivity can be carried out wireless by Bluetooth if needed. Inks manufacturing and inks deposition by screen printing or in-jet printing is already available in the company. On the other hand, DropSens has already collaborated with some of the project partners (i.e. Jobst, Byflow, Tecnalia) what ensures a fluid communication and efficient task execution in the different work packages.
Role of MDS in the project: Metrohm DropSens has a great experience dealing with electrochemical sensors and biosensors based on screen printed electrodes. These miniaturized devices can be easily brought to function with nano-materials or biological elements for sensing purposes. These devices incorporated to wearable technologies will play a key role in this project for the detection of different metabolites in sweat, interstitial fluid or other biological fluid. These noninvasive biosensors will be combined with other technologies for sampling, sampling pre-treatment and sampling movement to detection areas. On the other hand, Metrohm DropSens has a great experience in technology and knowledge transfer from the lab to the market so the company will play a role in the IP protection and exploitation of results. Parameters (analytes) to be detected such as lactate have been already measured by different approaches by the company.