Sphere Fluidics Limited closes a $7 million investment deal for the development of their Single Cell Analysis System, Cyto-Mine.
Sphere Fluidics is a Cambridge, England-based Life Sciences Research and Development company specializing in biopharmaceutical discovery and development, cell therapy engineering, analysis and isolation, and bioproduction and synthetic biology. The Sphere Fluidics Cyto-Mine technology is expected to be the first integrated device to be able to automatically perform single cell analysis, sorting, imaging and dispensing into individual wells of microtitre plates in a single compact system.
“This new instrument can accelerate and enable the discovery of diverse antibodies from primary cells and find high producer cell clones,” says Sphere Fluidics R&D Director, Dr. Marian Rehak. “It can perform millions of novel single cell assays per day, dramatically improve biopharmaceutical discovery, offers up to 100-fold improvements […]”
Development of the unique Cyto-Mine system is expected to allow for rapid and cost-effective screening of cells in order to optimize metabolic pathways, produce key enzymes and metabolites, and create new molecules or improved expression of host strains.
Cyto-Mine is a “high-throughput instrument that uses picodroplet technology and microfluidics to process around 1 million heterogeneous mammalian cells in less than 12 hours.” “Each cell is encapsulated in a picodroplet containing growth media,” which acts as a standalone bioreactor “to compartmentalise the cell and let it grow; eventually trapping secreted molecules such as antibodies. The unique workflow enables selective screening of single cells to find rare lead candidates.”
An Asian Corporate investor led the funding round; which also included investment from existing angel investors and UK angel funds such as 24Haymarket, Park Walk Advisors and London Business Angels.
“We were very pleased to have ongoing investor support and also extend our business activity and fundraising success to Asia”, says Dr. Frank F. Craig, CEO of Sphere Fluidics. Synthetic biology is a rapidly growing and diverse field with a need for the development of unique tools, such as Cyto-Mine. There are many markets in the ever-expanding field of synthetic biology and Sphere Fluidics hopes to gain a foothold in the early marketplace with their Cyto-Mine system.
“[…] Our initial target market is biopharmaceuticals but later we will also extend sales into other growing global markets including: synthetic biology, single cell therapy engineering, microbial analysis (e.g. antibiotic-resistance screening and microbiome studies) and single cancer cell diagnostics. It is an exciting time for Sphere Fluidics, our investors and customers,” says Craig.
“Sphere Fluidics Limited has recently successfully developed an alpha-version of its single cell analysis and characterization system […] We have also convinced several leading biopharmaceutical companies to fund development of this system – indicating the global potential of the product. This new funding will used to develop the manufactured version of Cyto-Mine and enable its commercial launch later this year. This system is transformational for the Biopharmaceutical market,” says Craig.
Sphere Fluidics Principal Scientist, Dr. Xin Li, will be speaking on April 6th – April 8th, 2016, at the SynBioBeta conference in London.
More information about the science behind the unique Cyto-Mine® technology can be found on the company’s website: http://www.spherefluidics.com/resources/scientific-papers/