I’m not too sure what it is about dragons that makes them so astute at judging the financial potential of a business idea. I’ve always put dragons down as being better at treasure hoarding and fire breathing, plus, of course, devastating villages.
However, what do I know? I’ve never understood what it is about fixing shoes that qualifies some people for cutting keys either.
It has been suggested to me that the whole point about a Dragon’s Den, as in the TV series, is that you have to be brave to enter it. A reasonable point, but if you’ve ever been to the first day of a major department store sale you will have known real fear when those doors open and bargain hunting fiends are released. Enter a Dragon’s Den or Harrods on sales day – close call.
On the whole, I would rather enter a Dragon’s Den than, say, a Lion’s Lair. This is because, at the end of the day, dragons are mythical beasts whereas lions are major predators with a bite equivalent to some 700lb. However, entering the Lion’s Lair is what brave representatives of four companies: YSI UK Ltd, Specac, Cambridge Reactor Design and CTS Europe, did on the first day of the Lab Innovations 2012 meeting.
You’ll be pleased to hear that ‘No scientist’s were injured in the making of this programme’, it was actually the Royal Society of Chemistry’s own version of the TV hit Dragon’s Den. The Lions in question were Julian South, who is Head of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Campden BRI; Kirsty Holmes, Laboratory Manager at Bernard Matthews; Phil Prime, editor of Laboratory News and Jay Bhatta, an Analytical Chemist at Premier Foods. These Lions were given the difficult job of trying to decide between products as diverse as a re-circulatory containment hood, a precision temperature controller and an innovative IR Spectroscope.
YSI’s entry was their brand new 2950 biochemistry analyser and we are told by the Synthesis Media team that this particular device was confidently presented by their Sales and Marketing Manager, Nick Smale. This modular system, running on the 2900 platform, makes use of enzyme specificity to target particular analytes. The three sensors in the 2950 can be configured to measure up to six chemistries from an impressive list of (in alphabetical order) choline, ethanol, glucose, gluatamate, glutamine, glycerol, hydrogen peroxide, lactose, methanol and sucrose plus ISE measurement of ammonium and potassium.
This flexibility, which includes accommodating 4, 8 and 24 place test tube holders and microcentrifuge plates; plus 96 well plates, a proprietry anti-clogging design and an integrated sample holder, has customers purring wherever it has been sold.
Obviously it’s very difficult to pick winners and losers from such disparate and interesting scientific products – maybe that’s because cats can purr but not roar and Lions can roar but not purr? So CTS Europe took the plaudits on the day – and well done too – but there is no doubt that YSI’s new 2950 Biochemistry Analyser is proving a winner with its many new customers in industries as diverse as Fermentation Control, clinical blood chemistry and Biofuel Production.
As the dragons would say: “I’m in!”