Sphere Fluidics offers single-cell analysis systems that provide rapid screening and characterization of single cells. These systems are underpinned by patented, microfluidic picodroplet technology.
GEN recently interviewed Zoe Nilsson, PhD, Global Product Marketing Manager, to learn more about Sphere Fluidics.
GEN: Tell us about Sphere Fluidics and its technology platform.
Nilsson: Sphere Fluidics is a company founded as a spinout on technology from the University of Cambridge under the guidance of Prof. Chris Abell, FRS FMedSci FRSC, and Prof. Wilhelm Huck, PhD, who are both on the company’s scientific advisory board. Frank Craig, PhD, was brought in as the CEO to drive the business strategy and commercialization of the technology.
Sphere Fluidics is an established life sciences tools company that develops and manufactures single cell analysis systems for biotherapeutic discovery and development. Our novel platform, called Cyto-Mine®, uses microfluidic picodroplet technology to perform single-cell analysis. This platform provides a solution to resource-intensive, time-consuming, and expensive workflows by integrating many different steps into one instrument.
In doing so, Cyto-Mine streamlines single-cell isolation, assay, selective sorting, imaging, and dispensing into one automated process which reduces timelines, increases screening capabilities and assures monoclonality.
Cyto-Mine can automatically screen tens of millions of single cells in miniaturized aqueous picoliter compartments, called picodroplets, within several hours.
Going a little bit deeper into the actual technology, Cyto-Mine encapsulates single cells into picodroplets along with assay reagents. Consequently, the picodroplets provide individual microreaction chambers where secreted proteins can accumulate and be assayed to identify valuable proteins (e.g., antibodies with antigen specificity). The picodroplets are sorted based on the assay results, providing a high-throughput screen that can selectively recognize rare cells of interest or high producing cells.
After selectively sorting picodroplets containing cells of interest, the Cyto-Mine then images each picodroplet multiple times. For scientists working in cell line development, this is an important step in Cyto-Mine’s integrated workflow. Within cell line development, there is a regulatory need for evidence of monoclonality. So, Cyto-Mine provides five separate images of the picodroplet with the encapsulated cell to give users that assurance.
In a nutshell, one automated workflow incorporates five different steps into the machine: single-cell isolation, assays, single-cell sorting, imaging, and then dispensing into multiwell microtiter plates.
GEN: What are some specific applications for Cyto-Mine?
Nilsson: Cyto-Mine has the most significant impact within antibody discovery and cell line development. Regarding antibody discovery, Cyto-Mine’s integrated workflow enables users to screen tens of millions of primary B cells or hybridomas in a single day and allows them to find and isolate unique cells that are secreting specific antibodies. This technology is excellent for accelerating the discovery of those cells secreting a specific, valuable antibody.
Cell line development is another key area of application for Cyto-Mine. Some users have shown that they can halve the time it takes to go from the transfection of a cell line to the generation of a cell bank. Traditional methods used in cell line development require the use of multiple labor-intensive instruments. However, Cyto-Mine streamlines all of the critical processes into an automated one-day workflow, providing users with a robust one-step cloning strategy and a high probability of monoclonality, resulting in an overall massive reduction of time while minimizing costs.
GEN: What can we expect to see from Sphere Fluidics in terms of new product development over the next year?
Nilsson: We will be launching new and improved software that enhances the current technology and provides new features to enable more capabilities with Cyto-Mine. We are also developing complementary kits to allow easy assay development for Cyto-Mine users. Sphere Fluidics is also likely to extend and validate different automated plate handlers that work with Cyto-Mine. We recently announced the optimization of Cyto-Mine through integration with Peak Analysis Automation’s plate handler, S-LAB™. The addition of S-LAB to the Cyto-Mine provides researchers with a further streamlined solution for single-cell analysis.
We are also developing novel applications for the measurement of bispecific antibodies and antibodies against cell surface receptors.
Learn more: bit.ly/spherefluidics.