Newly formed Nano-FM is marketing a hydrogel matrix composed of networks of nanofibers that support the growth of cells in two and three dimensions. Materials scientists discovered the nanofiber technology about five years ago at the Biomade Technology Foundation, an independent research institute in Groningen, The Netherlands. After investigating applications in cosmetics, agriculture, and other areas, the researchers concluded that the matrix technology was optimal for adherent cell growth. “ Cell culture and stem cell-related work were the best commercial applications,” says Edwin Schwander, CEO.
Nano-FM (short for fiber matrices) sells its hydrogel matrix under the brand name Articyt™, which coats products that support two-dimensional (2-D) and three-dimensional (3-D) cell growth. A unique feature of the Articyt coating is that it biodegrades in three to four weeks. The standard product is supplied as the Articyt coating on 24-well microtiter plates. Custom coatings are also available and different hydrogel matrices can be developed and finely tuned to meet the specifications of end users on a contract basis.
Articyt matrices are based on 1,3,5-cis cyclohexane tricarboxylic acid further functionalized with amino acid residues. The components readily self assemble into nanofibers through a combination of hydrophobic and hydrogen bonding interactions. Then the nanofibers entangle to form porous networks. Emanating from the core are variable arms that can be used to trigger specific interactions with cells or for disassembly.
The chemistry and biological properties of Nano-FM’s coatings are well defined and validated. Articyt matrices are available in a range of fiber thicknesses and fiber surface functionalities. They can be visualized with standard microscopic and imaging techniques, are compatible with standard fixation and staining methods, and contain no animal products. “We can modify the basic structure, surface, and fiber thickness to suit customer needs,” explains Schwander.