Licensing agreement will improve chemical detection

First published for WSU News

A new licensing partnership between WSU and Excellims Corp. will improve chemical detection tools used to detect everything from dangerous chemicals to human disease.

“I am very happy to see our research achievements being implemented into a commercial instrument,” said Herbert Hill, a WSU Regents Professor in the Department of Chemistry who developed the licensed technology. “This will allow researchers in a variety of academic research and industrial research fields to have a more powerful tool based on ion mobility spectrometry.”

Hill has more than forty years of experience researching and improving the ion mobility spectrometers (IMS) that are the core of Excellims’ business. IMS devices detect chemicals in the air or biological systems by analyzing the size and speed of their molecules. Hill’s research has explored the detection of everything from cancer biomarkers to detection of cannabis on the breath of drivers. He holds several patents for advancements to the technology, two of which are now licensed to Excellims.

“We are very glad to continuously work with Dr. Hill’s lab to further advance IMS instrumentation,” said Ching Wu, president and CEO of Excellims Corporation and former student of Hill. Wu graduated from WSU in 1997, and launched Excellims in 2005.

The license agreement WSU and Excellims entered into last week is for an advancement to IMS technology that increases the resolution and sensitivity of spectrometry readings. The technology will allow for analysis of more complex biological mixtures, such as the system of metabolites in our bodies that can be used to monitor health and the progression of disease.

“With this advancement of the ion mobility technology, many analyses that could not be accomplished by existing devices can become reality, especially when a high resolution ion mobility device like the Excellims’ spectrometer is used,” Hill said.

Excellims is a world leader in ion mobility spectrometry technology. Spectrometers developed by the company are used for chemical detection related to chemical and pharmaceutical research, food and drug safety, and security and forensics. Through basic research, Hill discovers and tests what is possible in the IMS field, resulting in knowledge that Excellims can implement in devices to sell to health care agencies, security companies, and more.

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