Member Spotlight

 Materials and Machines Corporation of America

Launched by Nebraska life sciences industry veteran Abe Oommen, Materials and Machines Corporation of America wants to change the way clinics work with DNA and perform related molecular work.

Oommen, who won the Governor’s Bioscience Award in 2012, obtained his doctorate from the University of Kansas, did postdoctoral studies at the Noble Foundation and has more than 22 years of experience in the instrumentation and agriculture genomics industry. Formerly an applications scientist at LI-COR, Oommen cofounded GeneSeek in 1998. GeneSeek was acquired by Neogen Corp. in 2010 and Oommen served as the general manager until 2014. Today, GeneSeek is the global leader in agriculture genomics with a new state-of-the-art facility in Lincoln where it employs more than 120 people.

With his new Lincoln-based venture, Materials and Machines Corporation, Oommen plans to leverage his experience launching startups and also his experience with molecular biology and genomics.

“We want to leverage our proprietary technologies to develop small, easy-to-use and affordable scientific and diagnostic instrumentation,” Oommen said. The company’s first product, a molecular diagnostic device targeted toward the veterinary office laboratory, is expected to hit the market in the second quarter of 2016.

This new device, and all its related biochemistry, was conceived and developed at the new company, which gives Materials and Machines significant advantage over others in a very competitive and fast-changing market, Oommen said. The company strongly believes that what it is working on could change the way molecular diagnostics is done in a clinical setting, whether for animals or humans. The company is also working on other devices and systems for a variety of markets. One such device is an automated high throughput screening system that could be used in drug discovery.

With six employees, including optics and electrical engineers and molecular biologists, Materials and Machines Corporation is looking for additional investors. A long-time supporter of Bio Nebraska, Oommen would like to see startups have better access to affordable lab space as well as startup capital. “I appreciate the work Bio Nebraska has done and continues to do to strengthen the ecosystem for life science entrepreneurs in Nebraska,” Oommen said.

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