Microfabrica Introduces Set of Miniature 'Building Blocks' for Minimally-Invasive Medical Devices

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 General News
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VAN NUYS, Calif., Dec. 18 Microfabrica Inc. will introduceat Medical Design & Manufacturing West a set of highly-miniaturized 'buildingblocks' which designers of minimally-invasive medical devices can use todevelop innovative new products. Water-powered turbines just over 1 mm indiameter which spin at 120,000 revolutions per minute, millimeter-scale 'carjack'-like expanders, ultra-flexible micro-chainmail metal fabric, micro-needles, miniature ratchets, hinges, slides, and springs, and multi-lumenmetal shapes are among the building blocks to be featured. Enabled by thecompany's unique EFAB manufacturing technology, these building blocks -- anddevices based on them -- will be on display in Booth 466, Hall E, AnaheimConvention Center, Anaheim, CA, January 29-31, 2008.

According to Microfabrica chief executive officer Vacit Arat, "EFAB hasalready been used successfully in a variety of non-medical applications, andthe technology's reliability and design flexibility have been put to test.Leveraging that experience, Microfabrica introduced the technology to selectmedical device companies in the last 12 months, and the response has beenoverwhelming. Several major players have already taken advantage of thetechnology to enable next-generation devices and dramatically cut cost."Beginning with MD&M, Microfabrica will make its technology broadly availableto medical device manufacturers. The company's building blocks are meant todemonstrate what is possible and give engineers a head start on leveragingEFAB in their designs.

"The micro-turbine -- probably the world's smallest -- might be used as ahigh-speed distal actuator in thrombectomy, atherectomy, and intravascularultrasound catheters, eliminating the need for a drive cable," noted AdamCohen, chief technology officer of Microfabrica. "The expander can anchor andmanipulate a catheter or retract tissue, while chainmail-based fabric is well-suited for distal protection or retrieval, especially in tortuous vessels, dueto its unusual flexibility. Meanwhile, robust, hollow microneedles can enableintradermal and precision drug delivery systems."

EFAB technology differs from conventional manufacturing processes inseveral ways. By applying to mechanical device fabrication the techniques usedto make computer chips, EFAB provides an accuracy and repeatability on theorder of 0.001 mm, as well as direct scalability from prototype to volumeproduction. The technology also offers an unprecedented new capability: it candirectly produce assemblies such as mechanisms with dozens of moving parts,without the need for assembly. Compared with machining, metal injectionmolding, and electrical discharge machining, EFAB offers greater complexity,smaller features, and often greater accuracy and lower cost. Compared withlaser or photochemical machining and stamping, EFAB offers greater accuracy,smaller features, and freedom from artifacts. The technology is mature, well-characterized, and extremely versatile. Products for specialties such asinterventional cardiology and neurointerventional radiology, endoscopy, head,neck and neurosurgery, drug delivery, gastroenterology, urology, cardiacrhythm management, cardiac and vascular surgery, ophthalmology, and cosmeticsurgery are under discussion or in commercial development.

About Microfabrica

Microfabrica Inc. (http://www.microfabrica.com) is a leading manufacturerof micro and millimeter-scale mechanical devices used in a variety of medical,electronics and defense applications. The company's unique EFAB technologyoffers an unprecedented capability to cost-effectively, flexibly manufacturehighly-miniaturized components and mechanisms in production volumes. EFAB isthe only manufacturing technology to produce robust, fully-assembled devicesmillimeters to centimeters in size with micron-scale features. EFAB technologyopens up a world of possibilities for sophisticated, min

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