For couples facing the financially and emotionally draining process of IVF - a $90B worldwide market – choosing a clinic with the right solutions and those that can help reduce the number of treatments yet increase the likelihood of a single-child, live birth represents a significant breakthrough.
“Here at Blood Cell Storage Inc. (BCSI) we make the products that we want our families to use and accordingly developed our two core non-invasive technology platforms known as SAFE solutions and SNAP solutions. Our original blood platelet technology was developed in the labs at Penn State University and later spun out and refined by our research team in Seattle. Both solutions have one clear goal, to create value for all stakeholders (patients, clinicians, collaborators and shareholders) by leveraging our fluorescent dye, micro-fluidics, and Nucleic Acid Extraction capabilities and intellectual property to reduce healthcare costs and improve patient outcomes,” said Steve Geelhood, Business Director, BCSI.
From the beginning, the company focused their product development efforts on solving some of the critical issues that limited the storage of donated platelets. The Blood Cell Storage company name suited this initial pH fluorescent sensor product. Then in 2012, BCSI began commercializing the pH technology into broader cell culture applications including IVF.
BCSI, now known also known as SAFE Sens, is an international laboratory instrument as well as a medical device company. The company, based in Seattle, Washington, was incorporated in 1998. It offers sterile automated fluoroscopic evaluation (SAFE Sens) for media; pH SAFE systems for blood; and simple nucleic acid processing systems for genomic research serving patients, clinicians, researchers, pathologists, and doctors worldwide. Its products include IVF monitors, fluorescent dyes, micro-fluidics, nucleic acid extraction capabilities, and automated systems.
"Because our TrakStation product measures pH levels directly inside the incubator, there is no opportunity for contamination of the culture or environmental sampling errors introduced during the measurement process," explained Geelhood.
“BCSI has been developing, manufacturing, and selling fluorescent pH technology and products into the blood platelet storage marketplace for the past 20 years. Our system reacts to the shifting chemistry in the liquid surrounding platelets in their storage bags, meaning that changes caused during the five days of platelet storage will be reflected in the pH results garnered by the system,” Geelhood explained, adding, “Using this experience, our subsequent product lines have guided the IVF Industry, Animal Reproduction Industry, and cell culture marketplaces.”
The SAFE Sens product line from BCSI, is available in 36 countries globally through a variety of original equipment manufacturers and distributors. It provides a calibration free, user-friendly, automated, continual, non-invasive pH monitoring system versus the invasive, labor intensive point-in-time measurements of other offering SAFE Sens is a complete system that uses disposable sensor cups, provides easy-to-use instructions and lasts the whole 5 day culturing cycle during the IVF process. The platform also uses a unique QC standard that allows embryologists to maintain measurement accuracy from cycle to cycle.
“Over the years we have amassed an impressive portfolio of filed and issued patents that are worldwide in scope. We have also established relationships with critically acclaimed research institutions throughout the world that have helped further our reach in human and animal IVF as well as blood banking,” he noted.
Acclaimed clinics such as: Seattle Reproductive Medicine; Boston IVF; Anova Fertility & Reproductive Health; and, Northwell Health along with market leading incubator manufactures including Esco, Labotect, and ASTEC all use the BCSI product lines.
“Among our experienced Board of Directors and operating executives as well as our diverse Operating Team of chemists, engineers, microbiologists and life scientists, the culture of BCSI is one of respect and collaboration. As managers and researchers, our team is not only dedicated to the advancement of medical devices but also to the overall success of every customer and employee,” commented Geelhood.
IVF clinics and clinicians utilizing TrakStation see improved efficiency by reducing the number of IVF cycles which lessens the emotional stress on couples. This affords TrakStation-equipped clinics with a significant competitive advantage in the highly competitive IVF industry.
“We were introduced to ARMI CTO, Dr. Tom Bollenbach, through a mutual colleague, and we immediately knew our goals aligned with ARMI’s vision,” said Geelhood adding, “We are looking to integrate pH technology into stem cell culture next and we hope to work with many ARMI members to create a product application as well as understand the various pathways through the regulatory process,” Geelhood noted.
BCSI is currently working with multiple IVF benchtop incubator manufactures who are installing SAFE Sens into their incubators and in many cases offering retrofits to existing incubators. The product is one which a laboratory staff can setup easily and use in under 30 minutes.