BURLINGTON - SiPhox will be occupying the space at 111 Terrace Hall Avenue after earning approval from the Planning Board for six special permits.
The medical device company has leased the space and plans to establish its headquarters at the Burlington site, off the northern end of Middlesex Turnpike.
SiPhox is developing a portable biosensor using chip-scale integration of the optics, electronics, microf-luidics and biochemistry. The biosensor consists of a reusable reader and cartridge. SiPhox’s first product is a SARS-CoV-2 antigen test for which they will seek Emergency Use
Authorization in the summer. This will be the first SARS-CoV-2 test fully functional on a semiconductor chip and able to be scaled in the billions by leveraging the existing semiconductor infrastructure of a single fab. This means that SiPhox is going to play a huge role in helping fight and defeat COVID-19.
The site at 111 Terrace Hall Ave will be used as SiPhox’s administrative, design and research headquarters. Production of SiPhox’s biosensors will be outsourced to contract manufacturers. The research laboratory will serve mainly as an optics and electronics laboratory. No biological materials/agents will be utilized at the Burlington site. If they do end up needing to use such items, SiPhox would need to come back to the Planning Board for further approvals.
The main activities they engage in consist of:
- Utilizing electrical equipment such as oscilloscopes, temperature drivers, spectrometers, and source generators to test and calibrate lasers in their process of miniaturization.
- Utilizing design silicon masks, analytical protocols, and optical setups as well as the software required to run their products.
- Utilizing reagents such as IPA alcohol and acetone to clean silicon chips, for later processing. In this later processing, they micro-print non-hazardous proteins onto the chip surface. This microprinting is done by pipetting and microprinting.
- Using positive pressure to flow protein on the chips while testing the sensor response with optics. We utilize micro-fluidics stages for this process, some of which are 3D printed in biocompatible resin.
- Engaging in testing various antibodies, buffers, and enzymes for the purpose of creating their single-use cartridges. Therefore, they do some immunoassays, such as ELISA testing with different buffers, antibodies, and non-hazardous viral proteins. Which are prepared by centrifuging, shaking, and pipetting.
As an optics and biolab, SiPhox will only utilize standard reagents. Depending on the type of reagent or chemical and its risk, they are stored in the Flammable cabinet, Acid cabinet, Laboratory Freezers or normal shelves. Regarding the waste, they will adopt a waste management plan to collect, containerize and dispose of the small quantities of solvents or acids that are waste utilized within the space. The collection will happen in their fume hood cabinet. The collected waste will then be picked up and disposed of by a licensed transporter for appropriate disposal, meaning that none of these reagents will be disposed of in the general sewage. They have a Chemical Hygiene Plan, which Planning Staff supported.
All the other town departments expressed “favorable” comments for the proposal, leading to firm support from the Planning Board.
“This is just what we are looking for. We are getting the diversity we need in that Terrace Hall Avenue park,” Planning Board member Paul Raymond said in support. “And if the Board of Health is fine with it, then I am fine with it.”
The sentiment was shared by the rest of the planners, so the board had no problem approving the six special permits by a 6-0-1 vote. Member William Gaffney abstained because he is an abutter to the property.