The NemaMetrix Story
Dr. Lockery applies microfluidics techniques to study C. elegans
Studying at Harvard University during his sabbatical leave, University of Oregon Professor Shawn Lockery applied microfluidics techniques, which involve precise control and manipulation of constrained fluids to move the worms around in a predictable manner. These techniques would replace the traditional manual method of studying C. elegans with microscopes, tweezers, and thin electrodes. Lockery realized that the new technique could be used as a precise and cost-effective drug screening tool.
Drs. Lockery and Weeks found NemaMetrix LLC to commercialize the technology
Collaborating with fellow University of Oregon Professor Janis Weeks, who had a background in electrophysiology and neural circuits, Shawn was able to turn his microfluidics concept into a functional prototype for use in rapidly screening drug candidates. This work was funded by a two-year NIH grant to the Lockery lab.
Matt Beaudet joins as CEO to accelerate and guide the commercialization effort
Experienced R&D executive Matt Beaudet recognized the potential in the technology. He saw that the work of Professors Lockery and Weeks was the largest advancement in drug discovery in the last 50 years — an advancement that will fundamentally change the way drugs are discovered. Matt and his team started product development to improve the usability of the technology.
NemaMetrix sells the first ScreenChip System
Together the three principals create and execute a plan to take the technology to the next level. They develop a streamlined, easy to use product, the ScreenChip System. Researchers using microscopic worms as test subjects will no longer be burdened with a tangle of wires or weeks of training. They won’t require the mind of an electrical engineer — or need an intimate familiarity with C. elegans.
NemaMetrix launches new and improved ScreenChip device and software
Continuing to refine and perfect the product, the NemaMetrix team releases the next generation of the ScreenChip System, which includes easy-to-use data acquisition and analysis software. This advanced automatic worm screening and phenotyping platform gives researchers the means to collect rapid and precise whole animal data. It provides investigators the freedom to focus on the meaning of the data — by eliminating the need for countless hours of worm preparation and data acquisition.