This article is sponsored by Sphere Fluidics.
The Sphere Fluidics team are excited to be attending SLAS2024 in Boston and invite delegates to visit their stand in the Exhibition Hall to discover their pioneering single cell discovery and analysis technology.
2023 was a momentous year of growth and development for the company, with the launch of a new brand identity, a state-of-the-art facility expansion, and exciting new scientific partnerships.
Sphere Fluidics’ range of novel cell encapsulation products for single cell analysis and isolation are aimed at easing customer workflows to accelerate scientific discovery. The company’s proprietary platform, Cyto-Mine®, uses its picodroplet microfluidic technology and is capable of screening up to 40 million cells in several hours, while maintaining viability, to greatly increase throughput and support acceleration of biopharmaceutical discovery and development, cell therapy, and synthetic biology workflows. The platform was recently updated to support FDA 21 CFR Part 11 compliance and include a full Installation Qualification / Operation Qualification (IQ/OQ) package for pharmaceutical quality assurance, extending the system’s applications into drug manufacturing operations.
The company has seen a period of significant expansion over the last twelve months, including a series of new senior appointments within the senior leadership team, expansion to its new facilities at Granta Park, Cambridge, UK, and the recent announcement of its involvement in the EU-funded research programme, 3DSecret.
Revolutionising the diagnosis and treatment of cancer
3DSecret is a four-year research project funded through the European Innovation Council’s (EIC) Pathfinder Open 2022, established under Horizon Europe, the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation. The consortium has been awarded €3.4 million and aims to develop novel technologies to investigate the stochastic patterns behind metastasis at the single-cell level, to predict cancer evolution.
The project brings together multidisciplinary experts in microfluidics, nanosensors, artificial intelligence (AI), cell genomics and transcriptomics from four European countries (Portugal, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom). As a consortium partner, Sphere Fluidics is providing its patented picodroplet technology to support development of an integrated microfluidic device, the 3DSecret-chip, for the reproducible and controlled formation of 3D spheroids from single cancer cells.
Dr Frank Craig, CEO, Sphere Fluidics, said: “The anticipated technical and scientific discoveries within the 3DSecret programme hold great potential to revolutionise the diagnosis and treatment of cancer by taking a radical bottom-up holistic approach: from cancer single-cells to 3D spheroids. Following funding, we’re now excited to get started on the project and initiate the collaboration amongst consortium members, which will be key to 3DSecret’s hopeful breakthrough.”
Game-changing results across a range of projects
2023 saw a number of new partners adopt Sphere Fluidics’ single cell analysis systems. One of these, biotechnology company Biosyntia, adopted the Pico-Mine® platform to accelerate development of novel industrially-relevant cell factories and advance bio-based production of nutritional ingredients.
Within the first months of using the Pico-Mine platform with Biosyntia’s proprietary B-vitamin biosensor, the company has been able to identify improved genetic variants of its leading B-vitamin production strain at unprecedented speeds, which are now in upscaling processes for precision fermentation of sustainable and natural B vitamins.
Hans Genee, Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder, Biosyntia, commented: “The identification of rare and improved phenotypes, such as vitamin production and secretion, from a large mutant library remains a challenge and a general bottleneck for the industrial biotechnology industry. Picodroplet screening is a game-changer and with Sphere Fluidics’ Pico-Mine in our lab, we are now able to test 1,000-fold more strains within the same timeframe and with a fraction of the resources.”
Another new client, FairJourney Biologics has adopted the Cyto-Mine platform as part of the launch for its latest cell line development services, to streamline and accelerate customer workflows. Cyto-Mine’s advanced features, such as selection of producer clones, monoclonality assurance, significant time savings, flexible assay designs, GLP compliance support, and regulatory compatibility, seamlessly complement FairJourney Biologics’ services, providing partners with comprehensive and efficient solutions for their research and development endeavours.