VIC Technology Venture Development of Fayetteville has formed the company Zebra Analytix, in order to develop and commercialize technology exclusively licensed to VIC from Virginia Tech University, VIC announced Wednesday (Jan. 10).
The patents-pending technology enables the miniaturization of gas chromatography (GC) systems, which are generally large, bulky and stationary, according to a VIC press release. GC is used to separate chemical mixtures into their components in order to identify volatile organic compounds in many substances, including air, water, plant and animal tissues and soil.
It has applications in a variety of industries, including healthcare, environmental monitoring, building automation, industrial, petrochemical and automotive applications and homeland security, especially driven by global government regulations for safety. The miniature GC platform being developed can be operated by non-experts to analyze volatile compounds within seconds, according to VIC, and has potential applications for wearable and portable detection devices.
“I am excited about the formation of Zebra Analytix to take our unique ideas and technologies from the lab to the market,” Zebra Analytix founder and chief technology officer Masoud Agah said in the press release.
Based in Roanoke, Va., Agah is the Virginia Microelectronics Consortium Professor of Engineering in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech, where he established the school’s Microelectromechanical Systems Laboratory in 2005. In 2008 Agah received the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award to support his research on micro GC, according to the press release.
“Our Micro GC technology at Virginia Tech MEMS Lab has gone well beyond just miniaturizing GC,” Agah said. “Zebra Analytix puts microGC in the palm of one’s hands with a vast range of applications in industry and academia. These microsystems, whether used as standalone sensors or as part of Internet of things (IoT), will enable continuous analysis of volatile organic compounds and thereby provide unprecedented data about our health, food, space, environment and working places.”
Calvin Goforth, founder and CEO of VIC and interim CEO of Zebra Analytix, touted what he said is the wide-ranging impact of the technology.
“Gas chromatography is a multibillion-dollar global market with applications across numerous industries. Dr. Agah’s research at Virginia Tech leads the way in realizing a true micro GC system that offers near real-time results in a high-performance yet affordable instrument,” he said in the press release. “Zebra Analytix will have strong opportunities in both existing GC market segments and new high-impact applications such as point-of-care cancer screening through detection of volatile organic compounds in breath.”
Zebra Analytix is a portfolio company of VIC, a technology venture development firm located in the Arkansas Research & Technology Park in Fayetteville.