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DITABIS: Custom-made analysis systems for research and industry

Outstanding quality, clever product design, flexibility and rapid implementation make Pforzheim-based DITABIS Digital Biomedical Imaging Systems AG a true racing stable for device developments. The company’s key competences include imaging plate technology and fluorescence scanning, procedures that can be used to record high-resolution digital images in a contrast-rich and highly linear way. The innovative imaging systems are predominantly used in scientific and diagnostic analytics as well as in medical technology. The pharmaceutical industry also uses developments from DITABIS for high-throughput analyses of pharmaceutical compounds, for example.

Part of the product range of OEM developments and proprietary DITABIS products © DITABIS

The ability to purchase custom-made high-tech analysis systems and medical devices from one single company makes clients’ hearts beat faster, especially when this option is seen to be both reliable and inexpensive. DITABIS was founded in 1996 with the objective of developing and producing innovative imaging technologies. Just three years after its foundation, DITABIS launched its first high-tech product on the international market. The Micron imaging plate scanner, which is based on imaging plate technology, is a true alternative to negative films and CCD cameras, particularly with regard to resolution, sensitivity and price. “Micron” can be used to scan electron microscope images of scientific preparations and for industrial X-ray applications, such as material testing (e.g. welded joints). The imaging plate systems use light-sensitive crystals that are excited with electron- or X-ray radiation; a digital image is produced directly by way of a highly focussed laser beam. “The imaging plate technology is as effective as CCD cameras, but up to two or three times cheaper,” explained Marc Bayer, product manager at DITABIS. This is a major reason why research institutes in particular are interested in this technology. DITABIS has already sold more than 100 Micron systems. The latest, third-generation, Micron system has even better resolution than digital CCD cameras.

Disclose or not disclose – this is up to OEM clients

DITABIS is active in numerous market segments and is particularly active in the OEM business. OEM stands for “original equipment manufacturer” and means that DITABIS develops and produces devices on behalf of other companies. In such cases, the name DITABIS remains invisible if the OEM client so requires. An exception to this rule is the successful cooperation with Greiner Bio-One, a global laboratory equipment manufacturer based in Frickenhausen, a city around 20 km southeast of Stuttgart. “Greiner Bio-One sells the CheckScanner™ system for the fully automated detection and analysis of its biochips. We developed the system and we also manufacture it,” explains Robert Warnke, head of sales at DITABIS. “We sell the same system ourselves under the name of MArS.” How does this work? Although CheckScanner™ and MArS are actually identical systems, they target two completely different markets. “Greiner Bio-One addresses clients in the field of laboratory diagnostics who sell the device in combination with special biochips for the genotyping of microorganisms in dental biofilms and for the early detection of cervical cancer in women. DITABIS sells the system on the free research market, offering compatibility with standard biochip formats that can be used for a broad range of biological and medical issues,” said Warnke. The MArS microarray scanner has a huge application potential as it can be used for all biochip applications, including proteomics and genomics. Detection is based on thousands of fluorescent spots that the MArS detects with just a few clicks of the mouse. The data are subsequently analysed with a proprietary DITABIS imaging analysis software.

Rapid development at an excellent price-performance ratio

Loading of the Micron Imaging Plate Scanner © DITABIS

DITABIS Digital Biomedical Imaging Systems AG is a spin off from Stratec Biomedical Systems AG. “The privately owned public limited company is based on ‘good old business philosophies’ and was financed from their own resources by its founders Dr. Christof Steiner and Hermann Leistner,” explained Marc Bayer. The company, which has grown from an initial three to 22 staff members, has filled all important business areas with its own personnel: development, production as well as marketing and sales are working efficiently together in order to react flexibly to client requirements. “It only took us six months to develop an OEM device for CeHa White, a product used in the dental sector and one for which we won a design prize,” said Dr. Steiner, head of Business Development, delighted with the company’s achievements.

DITABIS develops detection systems on behalf of companies, which are used, for example, in the high-throughput screening of pharmaceutical compounds in the pharmaceutical industry. The company also develops handheld diagnostics systems for the growing point-of-care testing market: innovative developments in the field of label-free detection are just one example of the company’s latest developments.

At DITABIS, engineers, life scientists and software specialists are working closely together in order to carry out new projects flexibly and quickly. DITABIS only outsources production steps that involve easy-to-specify routine activities. All quality-relevant activities such as the mounting of assemblies and quality-conform final inspections are carried out in-house in order to be able to meet the high quality requirements of the customers. The company’s development and production activities as well as requirements of the ISO 13485 quality standard correspond to the legal requirements stipulated by the Medicinal Products Directive and the German Medical Device Law – a standard that is indispensable for companies that are active on the national and international markets. “Our ISO 13485 certification is often the final entry ticket for an OEM product developed in cooperation with an international diagnostics and medical technology partner,” added Dr. Steiner.

Own sales, marketing and distributors enhance market presence

The Micron Imaging Plate Scanner allows high-resolution electron microscope imaging of cells using the freeze-fracture technique. © DITABIS

In addition to development and production, sales and marketing represent an important core process at DITABIS. The company’s products are globally marketed by distributors who predominantly serve clients in Asia and America. However, the company intends to continue its successful path and does not anticipate resting on its laurels. “We will continue to strengthen our business by expanding our product range and our distributor network because our major goal is to continue to grow in the future,” concluded Warnke.

Further Information: DITABIS AG
Digital Biomedical Imaging Systems AG
Stuttgarter Straße 13
75179 Pforzheim
Deutschland
Phone: +49 7231 / 29 863 0
e-mail:contact(at)ditabis.de

Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/article/news/ditabis-custom-made-analysis-systems-for-research-and-industry