Erol Harvey*


MiniFAB Pty Ltd
1 Dalmore Drive, Scoresby, Vic 3179


The application of microfluidics for commercial point-of-care solutions is now well established. However the industrial and academic development has taken more than 40 years.  The technology was first explored by industrial researchers at ICI back in the mid 1970’s. Two decades later it became the focus of lab-on-a-chip developments, many of which were aiming at point-of-care diagnostic solutions. Today MiniFAB, a contract development and manufacturing company, manufactures many millions of nano-precise polymer microfluidic devices each year, contributing to a global microfluidic product market that is estimated to currently be around $8 Billion and is expected to grow rapidly, increasing to $23 Billion by 2022 [1].

While there was certainly a lot of hype concerning the potential for the technology to “revolutionize” health care, the rate at which the technology developed has been impressive. However, the industry that the technology was seeking to disrupt has proved to have great inertia. Additionally, a misunderstanding by researchers of what benefits and features the market is prepared to pay for has slowed commercialization, and led to several commercial failures.

Why did it take so long for this technology to find commercial success, and what can we learn from this that might apply to the commercialization of other emerging technologies? This talk will give some examples of successful microfluidic point-of-care solutions, and will highlight some of the design features that contributed to their success. Market trends and promising near-term applications for the technology will also be discussed.



[1]  Yole Développement, “Status of the Microfluidics Industry – 2017 Report”