By Anita Dushyanth, PhD
Hamilton Thorne announced on January 4, 2017 the signing of an agreement with Blood Cell Storage, Inc. (BCSI) that enables HTL.V (TSX:HTL.V) to distribute BCSI's SAFE Sens TrakStation® and TrakPod® technology. Additionally, Hamilton Thorne will provide a service to retrofit benchtop incubators to monitor pH solutions.
In IVF labs, a consistent and stable incubator environment is required for the successful development of the embryo. Embryos are sensitive to disturbances that occur during routine laboratory handling. To prevent loss of embryos, critical equipment such as an incubator requires a monitoring system, which would register critical parameters such as pH shifts that are trending out of range. Although newer classes of incubators are equipped with pH monitoring capability, several labs having older equipment have no such monitoring system in place. For such labs, Hamilton Thorne offers its services to retrofit benchtop incubators with pH monitoring solutions.
TrakStation and TrakPod are the two latest systems from BCSI for continuous monitoring of pH noninvasively from multiple incubators in IVF labs. For the entire one-week period of the IVF cycle, the system (the TrakPod is attached to the TrakStation) has the capability to monitor and log pH data from as many as eight probes simultaneously. Calibration of the probe is not required. The disposable sensor is replaced once per week. Since this system can continuously monitor pH without opening/closing incubator doors, it promises an uninterrupted incubation cycle that eventually results in better outcomes for IVF procedures.
Management is planning to commence this service in the first quarter, initially retrofitting one brand of incubators. The adoption rate for a retrofit is mostly driven by the existing equipment s age and the economy. Although labs may purchase newer equipment as economy recovers, smaller facilities may still choose to implement retrofit kits for cost advantages.
Looking forward, we anticipate a modest growth from the sale of consumables and services in 2017. This growth should accelerate in 2018 and could become more significant if the company begins to provide retrofit services for other incubator brands.
Strategically, this initiative supports company’s efforts to continue to diversify its offerings in the services segment by adding an incubator services offering and positions its service group to be able to offer a broader range of maintenance, service, calibration and QA services to the IVF lab.
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