Sharp’s the word for Nuclera as it leverages Asian HealthTech to turbocharge protein access

09 Feb, 2024
Tony Quested
Nuclera has exclusively licensed technology from Asian powerhouse Sharp Life Science (EU) to boost development of a system the Cambridge life science tools company has designed to deliver breakthrough rapid access to highly complex, custom protein reagents.
Nuclera co-founder and CEO Dr Michael Chen. Credit – Nuclera.

Nuclera says rapid access to proteins will facilitate the acceleration of drug discovery by pharma companies and university research labs around the world. Its second-generation eProtein Discovery™ benchtop system is key to this objective.

SLS-EU is a joint venture founded by Sharp (Sakai, Japan) and Hon Hai Precision Industry (a.k.a. Foxconn) (Taipei, Taiwan) in 2017.

Nuclera has licensed SLS-EU’s digital microfluidic intellectual property portfolio for AI/ML-enabled cell-free and cell-based protein design and biomanufacturing. The move suggests that the Asian player recognises that Nuclera is the best company to commercialise SLS-EU’s technology for protein applications.

Nuclera’s current benchtop system is described as the first and only product that miniaturises, simplifies, and automates protein design and protein expression and purification screening, giving bioscientists and engineers the ability to have reliable access to custom protein reagents in less than 48 hours.

The partnership with SLS-EU will help Nuclera develop future generations of the eProtein Discovery™ system to provide ever more advanced features to drug discovery researchers.

This agreement also further strengthens Nuclera’s ongoing R & D and manufacturing partnership with E Ink, the leading innovator of electrophoretic display technologies, by providing Nuclera and E Ink more technology options to pursue the development of increasingly advanced digital microfluidic devices.

E Ink Holdings Inc. – based on technology from MIT’s Media Lab – has transformed and defined the eReader market, enabling a new multi-billion dollar market in less than 10 years.

Nuclera operates the world’s most advanced digital microfluidic system for biotechnology applications. Overall, the work with SLS-EU will enable Nuclera to further increase its IP moat around high resolution active matrix thin-film transistor based digital microfluidics.

Nuclera will also be able to more effectively develop its second generation eProtein Discovery™ system, an even more advanced platform scheduled to be launched in early 2026.

This platform will bring onboard advanced expression capabilities, including eukaryotic and mammalian expression, thereby creating a one-stop shop protein expression platform which further reduces barriers to drug discovery.

Dr Michael Chen, Nuclera’s co-founder and CEO said: “We are delighted to reach an agreement with SLS-EU, a world leader in the life sciences technology equipment industry, to exclusively licence its digital microfluidic IP portfolio.

“This not only helps us build our eProtein DiscoveryTM roadmap towards an even more advanced platform, but also facilitates the commercialisation of our digital microfluidic technologies which means we empower our drug discovery customers to develop better, life-saving therapies faster.”

Dr Michael D. McCreary, E Ink’s Chief Innovation Officer added: “Both Nuclera and SLS-EU are important technology partners and customers of E Ink. We are pleased to see this licensing agreement that further enables the success of future generations of Nuclera products by opening access to Nuclera of the SLS-EU microfluidics research portfolio.”

Nuclera has built impressively to a team of 100+ employees – including scientists, engineers and software developers – based in Cambridge UK, and Boston, Mass.