Experts in Biological Separation
Memphasys Ltd (ASX: MEM) is an Australian publicly-listed bio-separations company developing and commercialising innovative separation techniques based on the Company's proprietary membrane technology.
Memphasys’ first application of this technology platform is now being commercialised – the separation of the ‘best’ sperm from a semen sample for use in human in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
Memphasys reports that the first two cartridges for the next generation SpermSep device have been delivered to Memphasys by Hydrix, the Company's engineering development partner.
The device is a global first for automating the preparation of sperm for human IVF.
The device, named 'Felix', will be thoroughly tested at Memphasys' laboratory prior to further testing and validation by the Company's IVF clinic development partners.
Innovation in Biological Separation Processes
Memphasys specialises in biological separations for commercial applications.
Memphasys’ patented membrane processes enable the selection of high value substances or contaminants from the fluid in which they are contained by applying an electrical field (electrophoresis) to a sample of the fluid that is contained between our membranes. Proteins or cells can be extracted utilising Memphasys’ proprietary polymer separation membranes to pick out specific components based on their size and relative charge.
Memphasys’ SpermSep technology selects the most viable sperm from semen samples for use in fertility treatments including IVF for humans, and potentially in various artificial reproductive techniques (ART) for animals.
There is a higher incidence of miscarriage, premature births and various genetically-based diseases such as cancers and neurological diseases in progeny created using IVF and certain other ART fertilization methods than there is from natural fertilisation.
There is increasing concern that current human sperm preparation techniques for extracting the sperm from semen sample may be contributing to these results, as they can physically damage the sperm, and lead to oxidative stresses and DNA damage.
The Company's SpermSep technology has been developed in partnership with Professor John Aitken from the University of Newcastle, Australia – a world-leader in human fertility research. Under Prof Aitken’s leadership, extensive proof of concept testing of the SpermSep research device has been completed, which has resulted in publications endorsing the quality of the sperm selected using the SpermSep technology.
Memphasys is now developing a next-generation of SpermSep products for clinical use in human IVF centres worldwide.
Over the past 15 years Memphasys has developed a polymer membrane separation technology using polyacrylamide hydrogel membranes with electrophoresis.
Memphasys’ current range of research lab instruments was developed to allow this separation technology to be used in the research sector to assess new applications. One was the CS10 prototype research instrument for testing sperm separation.
Memphasys is well advanced in developing and validating an improved membrane material that is biologically-compatible and easily scalable in ambient conditions.
In early 2014 Memphasys licensed its polyacrylamide membrane technology for use in human plasma separation to PrIME Biologics Pte Ltd in Singapore. Memphasys holds a passive shareholding in PrIME Biologics.
Memphasys has patents relating to electrophoresis apparatuses, consumables (e.g. separation cartridges and separation membranes) and other hardware for biological separation
Memphasys also holds patents specific to the SpermSep technology and an exclusive license agreement with our clinical research partner, the University of Newcastle, for IP they have developed in sperm separation.
The new separation membrane material currently being developed will generate new application and method patents in the coming years.