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Public Higher Education Bulletin

University of Illinois at Chicago
SoleSource #428JCM
Announcement of a Sole Source Purchase
Award Info Published Monday November 3, 2014
Awarded to:
Vendor: ALA Scientific Instruments Inc. (ALA), Farmingdale, NY
Amount: An estimated $69,795
Terms:  One-time transaction
The University award process may be delayed up to thirty days as this award goes through a state approval process.
The hearing has been cancelled
Published Tuesday October 21, 2014
The hearing has been cancelled since no vendors registered to attend or submitted comments regarding this notice.
First published Tuesday, October 7, 2014
The University awarded a contract for ALA's MEA2100-System for Ophthalmology research. to ALA Scientific Instruments Inc. (ALA), Farmingdale, NY, for an estimated $69,795.
Purchase of ALA's MEA2100-System will allow the researcher to record electrical activity from neurons so that Corneal nerve regeneration can be studied.The MEA2100-System is the only vitro recording system that has a high density of electrodes (120 channels), and a recording system that is small enough that it can fit on an imaging microscope. The MEA2100-120 system is the only recording system that can meet these requirements: it has the highest density of electrodes (120 channels) when compared to other recording systems like AlphaMED and Axion (60 channels), and no other recording system has a compact design and transparent electrode arrays that allows it to be used on an imaging microscope.

The MEA2100-System has 120 channels for recording and stimulation (other vendors such as, AlphaMED and Axion only have 60 channels) In addition the MEA2100-System has transparent electrodes for simultaneous recording and imaging (this feature is not available on other recording systems).

The MEA2100-System has the highest sampling rate of any recording system: 50 kHz vs. 20 kHz (AlphaMED) and 40 kHz (Axion). The MEA2100-System with it's 50 kHz sampling rate provides more data points (high resolution) and more data points mean more information. Higher sampling rate provides more data points which can be later processed in software to extract more information then you can get from 40 kHz. So in a very compact tissue like the retina, there are millions of neurons in a small space. High definition data can result in better spike sorting of neuronal activity, which is critical for customer in this case as they can better decode retinal activity.

Also, the MEA2100 System has Microelectrode array longevity that is superior to other recording systems (20 - 40 uses, vs 1 - 5 uses on AlphaMED/Axion arrays) So only the MEA2100System with it's higher uses from Multi Channel System arrays keeps the cost of consumables low. Low number of uses from competitor array will require frequent purchases of their arrays to perform the experiments, thus increasing the overall cost of owning and operating the instrument over a long period of time. For e.g. competitor arrays cost > $100. If you have to get 100 arrays a year, your cost of operating the instrument will be $10,000 annually (for 100 arrays used 2 times = 200 experiments). 5 arrays ($399 X 5 = $2,000) from Multi Channel System will give you 200 experiments (5 arrays X 40 uses). As competitor arrays degrade quicker as evident from low number of uses, they are not ideal for very long term experiments. MCS arrays are the only viable option for our research.

Also, the MEA2100-120 system is the only recording system equipped with an auxiliary digital signal processor for use with real-time feedback experiments. Auxiliary signal processor is critical for advanced research, especially with retina. The processor enables the investigator to stimulate their biological sample (electrically or optically) in real-time based on the signals observed during recordings. The signal processor also allows for any signal manipulation of the observed activity and generate a stimulation feedback loop to alter/manipulate retinal responses as dictated by their research protocol. Without auxiliary signal processor, “real-time stimulation feedback” and “ real-time signal processing” are not possible. MEA2100 system is the only commercial system with auxiliary signal processor
The University has determined that this purchase is only economically available from this source because the items are required for research and no other source is able to meet the researcher's documented needs.

For additional information, contact:
John Meehan
University of Ilinois at Chicago
Purchasing Division (M/C 560)
809 South Marshfield Avenue
Chicago, IL 60612-7203
Phone: (312) 413-5961
FAX: (312) 996-2055
State Purchasing Officer - Aaron M. Finder

We will hold a public hearing at the date, time and location specified below, if we receive a request to testify regarding the sole source determination. We will also hold a hearing if any vendor submits a signed statement showing the capability to provide the stated supplies/services at or below the amount indicated.

The public hearing allows any interested party the opportunity to testify for or against the sole source determination as described in this notice. The purpose of the hearing is to receive information from the public in a reasonable manner. Formal rules of evidence will not apply. The hearing officer will produce minutes of the hearing and may record it in order to aid in the production of the minutes. After conclusion of the hearing we will decide whether the sole source determination was appropriate.

We must receive any request to testify and any vendor statement no later than the registration date and time indicated below. If we do not receive a timely request or statement, we will not hold the hearing. We reserve the right to cancel the procurement prior to any scheduled hearing. Please confirm the status of the hearing with the Hearing Contact.

October 22, 2014
2:00 PM
Stratton Building
Room 511
401 S. Spring Street
Springfield, IL

If you cannot attend the meeting in-person at the primary location, you may attend via audio or video conference, as available, at one of the optional locations.

Alternate Location(s):
James R. Thompson Center
Room 9-035
100 West Randolph
Chicago, IL

Hearing Contact:
Aaron M. Finder
Phone:(217) 558-3050
Fax:(217) 558-5407
Date, time, and location are subject to change and/or cancellation. It is the responsibility of potential participants to confirm these details prior to attendance.

Registration Deadline:
October 17, 2014
Register with:
Aaron M. Finder
Phone:(217) 558-3050
Fax:(217) 558-5407

The State of Illinois has a policy to encourage prospective vendors to hire qualified veterans, minorities, females, persons with disabilities and ex-offenders.

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Sole Source Justification
  • 428JCMPart1.pdf (356 KB)
Sole Source Justification Part 2
  • 428JCMPart2.pdf (47 KB)