Fluidigm Corporation

Fluidigm is a biotech tools company that creates microfluidic-based chips and instrumentation for biological research. [b]The Invention[/b] Fluidigm co-founder Stephen Quake invented a microscopic valve while he was teaching at Caltech in 1998. Much the way a transistor controls the flow of electrons in a computer chip, Fluidigm’s microfluidic valve performs the same function for the life sciences industry in a microfluidic chip made of rubber. Quake and Gajus Worthington founded Fluidigm in 1999. Worthington is the company’s president and chief executive officer, while Quake is head of Fluidigm's Scientific Advisory Board, co-chair of the bioengineering department at Stanford University, and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In the late 1990s, most microfluidic experts came from the semiconductor industry and preferred substrates like silicon, glass or plastic, but not Fluidigm. Quake’s invention created the chip out of fusing multiple layers of rubber. That substrate is unique within the bio-chip industry and is illustrative of how Fluidigm has pioneered its path to creating a variety of PCR-based solutions. [b]A Decade of Successive Inventions[/b] Today, Fluidigm’s technology enables the rapid, efficient, highly parallel, and reproducible analysis of tens-to-hundreds of genetic markers, across hundreds-or-thousands of DNA samples, in hours instead of days or weeks. Fluidigm’s technology supports genomics-based applications such as single-cell gene expression, high sample throughput SNP genotyping and ground-breaking capabilities such as digital PCR and automated target enrichment for next-generation sequencing. Select BioSciences, an independent research company, said in a January 2010 report on Single Cell Analysis (SCA) that “Fluidigm is the leading microfluidics company for SCA… [and that] Fluidigm is well-positioned to become a leader in SCA.” The company’s headquarters are located in South San Francisco, California, and its worldwide manufacturing is performed in its factory in Singapore. Today approximately 200 people work for Fluidigm worldwide.

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