April 15, 2013 (Vol. 33, No. 8)

Innovation and Excellence—A Global Leader in Label-Free Real-Time Cell Analysis

The year 2013 marks a significant milestone for ACEA Biosciences as the company celebrates its 10th anniversary. Over the course of the last decade ACEA has transformed itself from a small startup company to a leading provider of instrumentation for the cell analysis field. ACEA is the inventor and the developer of xCELLigence Real-Time Cell Analysis systems, which utilize impedance electrode biosensors for detection of cells under physiological conditions. The technology is being utilized in academic labs, government-run labs, biotechs, and pharma companies across the world in such diverse fields as cancer, regenerative medicine, inflammation, microbial infection, and toxicity research.

The publication of over 400 peer-reviewed scientific papers citing the technology is a testament to the integration of the xCELLigence system as part of routine cell analysis and drug discovery workflow. The underlying formula for the success of ACEA as a company, and the popularization of the technology, is primarily due to the customer-centric approach to product development and customer support, which ACEA has woven into the fabric of the company. The other key to success is the efficient coordination of expertise in cutting-edge engineering, biology, and commercialization, which work in concert to foster an environment of innovation for new product concepts and development.

About the Company

ACEA Biosciences is headquartered in San Diego, California, and has its state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Hangzhou, China, which is ISO9001 certified. In addition to manufacturing, ACEA’s Hangzhou facility also houses a high-throughput drug screening center, animal testing, chemistry, and formulation for the newly emerging drug discovery and development line of business.

ACEA’s core competency lies in its talented pool of employees in research and development and in marketing and commercialization. The ability of this diverse team to work together is critical to ACEA’s success as a company.

In 2007, ACEA entered into a partnership with Roche Applied Science to develop and market the xCELLigence system, which resulted in the development and commercialization of five different instruments and associated consumable plates. ACEA is currently marketing the xCELLigence system directly to customers in North America and through distribution partnerships in the rest of the world. In 2013 ACEA announced the launch of its latest and most exciting product, the iCELLigence system. The iCELLigence is primarily designed for scientists engaged in basic laboratory research and utilizes an iPad and all its features, including Wi-Fi transmission for data acquisition and analysis.

Markets Served

With the development of the xCELLigence system, ACEA’s primary focus has been the cellular analysis market. The ability to isolate, maintain, and manipulate cells of various origins in vitro is at the heart of basic and biomedical research today. These cells provide the smallest functional unit for studying different facets of biology, human disease, and even treatment. As such these cells have become an invaluable resource, to be handled with utmost insight and care in a manner that preserves their inherent physiology and integrity.

This perception has been the main driving force for the development and utilization of the xCELLigence system. The system utilizes biosensors based on impedance detection to non-invasively monitor cellular behavior in terms of morphological dynamics, strength of adhesion, viability, proliferation, and toxicity. A key feature of the technology is that it provides kinetic information throughout the duration of the assay, which generates an information- rich dataset and can be applied to a diverse range of applications.

Figure 1 shows how the technology can be adapted for cancer research to assess the migration and invasion of cancerous cells in real-time. Figure 2 shows how the same readout can be applied to functional detection of iPS-derived cardiomyocytes and detection of compounds, which may cause arrhythmia.

These two aforementioned applications are just a small example of the flexibility and diversity of the readout and applications. It is perhaps not a surprise that the xCELLigence system is being utilized by researchers in academic basic research in such diverse fields as cancer, immunity, inflammation, and infection. In addition, because of the diversity of applications, the technology has been well integrated into the drug discovery and development process from target validation, assay development, lead generation and optimization as well as preclinical toxicology and safety evaluation of compounds.

Based on a solid foundation of science, innovation, and commercialization, ACEA looks forward to the next 10 years as it plans to diversify its product portfolio into other areas of cell analysis, drug discovery and development, diagnostics, and the healthcare field in general.

ACEA Biosciences

6779 Mesa Ridge Road, Suite 100
San Diego, CA 92121

Phone: 858.724.0928


Date Founded: 2002

Number of Employees: 200

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