04. June 2013

Medical Provisions

The ability to change can be a key to success. One example of this is demonstrated by opTricon GmbH.

Lutz Melchior's company opTricon develops optical reader systems for use in medical diagnostics.
Lutz Melchior's company opTricon develops optical reader systems for use in medical diagnostics.
The company was launched in 2005 as a service provider that developed components for optical data transmission. The customers were mostly neighbours in the Adlershof Technology Park. Today, opTricon is a global player that manufactures optical reader systems for use in medical diagnostics. Also companies like Lumics or Lasertechnik Berlin have “made medical provisions”. According to Lutz Melchior, Managing Director and one of the company’s founders, the change at opTricon began five years ago. At that time, opTricon was developing its first readout device for a manufacturer of rapid diagnostic tests for potential bodily changes. The most famous of these is the pregnancy test. Yet they can also detect drugs and provide information on risks of disease like heart attacks, Alzheimer’s or tumours. The principle is always the same: a so called biomarker is depicted in the form of lines that adopt varying intensities of colour depending on each marker’s concentration. The opTricon devices scan these colours with optical sensors and translate them into measured values. They are mobile, easy to handle and adaptable to boot. “Our system can be used for any test that is based on a colour change reaction,” confirmed Melchior. The demand for these tests is growing – exactly like opTricon. At present, the company employs 21. “With more to come in the course of the year,” explained Melchior. Wanted are engineers with an affinity towards medicine. Also the demand for laser technology in medicine is growing. Applications range from diagnostics to tissue burning. “Lasers made in Germany” is the advertising slogan of Lumics GmbH. The physicist Nils Kirstaedter founded the company in 2000. Portfolio: high performance laser diodes that can be used in both medicine and industry. “We can supply every wavelength in the range relevant to the sector from 780 to 1,550 nanometres,” explained Kirstaedter. Lumics diode lasers are used in dental medicine, surgery, ENT medicine and veterinary medicine. Also Lasertechnik in Berlin GmbH (LTB) is a specialist in medical lasers from Adlershof. In 2011 LTB developed a prototype that allowed the early detection of black skin cancer directly on the patient without the need for removed tissue. There is great interest: LTB is investing €3.7m in a four storey building with a floor space of about 2,500 square metres. This extra space will also be needed for the medical engineering division that LTB set up in 2012 and that will be preparing the production of this system for the early detection of black skin cancer. By Mirko Heinemann for Adlershof Special