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Bayer orders pocket microscopes from start-up IoLight

Global life science company Bayer has purchased 10 pocket-sized digital microscopes from UK start-up IoLight for its practice support advisors.

IoLight’s laboratory-grade pocket digital microscope can be used to record and share 5MP still images and real time HD video on a tablet or phone. Offering a resolution of one micron, the device is powerful enough to observe the structure of plant and animal cells, a capability not commonly offered by portable microscopes.

The device is also equipped with a fixed sample stage as is usually offered by lab-based microscopes, and features a folding optical head mechanism that allows it to fit into a jacket pocket. The head contains the camera and top and bottom illuminators, both of which are adjustable. 

This design is both practical and suitable for Bayer’s veterinary practice support advisors, who can carry the compact microscope in their bags. The advisors will use the system in everyday support to demonstrate to customers the damage that parasites can do to pets and farm animals unless they receive the correct treatment. Parasites such as Angiostrongylus vasorum and Eimeria bovis, which can seriously harm pets or livestock, can be identified using the device.

Christopher Chick, key account manager of national sales at Bayer said: ‘Using the IoLight microscope gives our customers a clear and immediate insight into how much damage these parasites can cause...’

In the first six months of going to market, over 40 pocket digital microscopes were sold to customers, including The Eden Project, universities, schools, vets, pathologists and micro-engineering companies.

‘Here at the Eden Project we have used the IoLight Digital Microscope for a wide range of activities, from investigating plant diseases to demonstrating the microscopic world of pond water to school children,’ said Chris Bisson, policy development manager at the Project. ‘It’s really easy to use and has been brilliant for enthusing both children and adults in the microscopic world around us.’

According to Cambridge University, the microscope produces high-quality images for rapid and high-resolution inspection of many samples, and is extremely convenient to use. 

IoLight is also currently exploring volume sales opportunities with The Plant and Animal Health Agency, while positive feedback has been received from senior staff at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science. The company is targeting an estimated $340 million section of the $5 billion microscope market with the device, and is already experience growing product sales and a gross margin of 68 per cent.

Andrew Monk, founder of IoLight, said: ‘We are delighted how our business is progressing.  As we now have a proven track record and some key customers … It really is a very exciting time for our company as we plan further product updates and to grow product sales into global markets.’

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