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Plasticell and Sphere Fluidics Sign Research Collaboration

March 29, 2016

Will develop gene transduction technology designed to lead to safer and more efficient gene therapies

Plasticell, a biotechnology company using combinatorial cell culture technologies for optimization of cell and gene therapy manufacturing, has signed a collaboration agreement with Sphere Fluidics, a company specializing in single cell encapsulation and screening.

Plasticell has used its proprietary Combinatorial Cell Culture (CombiCult) platform to develop inexpensive, high-efficiency gene transduction protocols as alternatives to commercial transfection reagents currently used in gene therapy trials. Sphere Fluidics has developed high throughput single cell manipulation and screening technology in picoliter volumes. The two partners aim to combine their technologies to develop quantitatively accurate gene transduction systems with improved efficiency, safety and cost savings.

Plasticell’s CombiCult technology is a screening technology for stem cell differentiation, but has also found numerous applications throughout the biopharma value chain.  Examples in which Plasticell is collaborating with partners to improve manufacturing of therapeutic products include in cell bioprocessing, cancer immunotherapy and gene therapy.

“A leading gene therapy approach involves the insertion of therapeutic genes into the genome of cells outside the body, followed by the administration of these cells into the patients to deliver the therapeutic gene product,“ said Aaron Chuang, chief science officer, Plasticell. “The efficiency, safety and cost of this process needs to be optimized to ensure therapeutic efficacy, to mitigate potential adverse events such as insertional mutagenesis and to improve the cost-effectiveness of gene therapies.”

“Sphere Fluidics’ technology can potentially improve the current way of cell transduction and transfection,” said Marian Rehak, director of R&D, Sphere Fluidics. “Our well-controlled high-throughput approach can address some of the bottlenecks and risks of the cell manufacturing workflows. We are very excited to collaborate with Plasticell to investigate those issues, to optimize gene insertion processes and ultimately to improve the cell therapy efficacy.”
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