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25 January, 2012 - 14:26 By News Desk

Sphere seeks £4m funding to underpin growth

Frank Craig, CEO at Sphere Fluidics Limited

Sphere Fluidics Limited has developed unique technologies for use in Single Cell Analysis and NanoProteomics studies.

The Cambridge company has applied its technology to re-design the key ‘From Single Cells to Novel Proteins’ workflow to enable and accelerate single cell and protein discovery and optimisation for use in a number of key sectors. Sphere Fluidics aims to become a world leader in its chosen markets.

The company has access to proprietary discovery systems that enable the identification and analysis of single cells and proteins in picolitre-volume droplets (i.e. picodroplets) using miniaturised biochips.   Uniquely, these systems enable the study of different molecules that are inside and/or released outside of single cells.

The latter application is very powerful as many human biotherapeutics, industrial enzymes and around 15 per cent of the Human Proteome are secreted, so cannot readily be analysed in their native form using conventional technology.

The contents of each picodroplet can be measured fluorescently and ‘actives’ containing single cells or proteins can be retrieved from libraries for further growth and/or analysis.

Additionally, picodroplets can also be measured by mass spectrometry, which yields structural information on proteins and other molecules. These platforms can process up to one million individual tests in the volume of a single water drop and enable faster assays with a 500-fold reduction in reagent costs – yielding significant savings in operational costs and time.

The core technology and current products have been developed with over £8 million of research grants and other funds and are protected by 30 international patents (15 of which are granted).     

Sphere Fluidics will generate significant income from the following portfolio:-• Products: Instrumentation systems and consumables for single cell analysis and NanoProteomics• Patented cell lines, proteins and genetic information of industrial interest• R & D collaborations• Research Projects• Technology development collaborations• Discovery Partnerships: to identify novel cell lines, proteins and/or information.

Sphere Fluidics has already established a research project with a Top 3 Pharma firm and a development collaboration with a leading, NASDAQ-quoted US biotech. The company is also selling its consumable products using the worldwide sales and distribution channels of the Dolomite Centre.

Sphere’s directors are world leaders in the development of cell-based and proteomic technologies and have a track record in creating and building successful technology-based businesses.

To date, Sphere Fluidics has received a convertible loan and seed Venture Capital investment from Cambridge Enterprise and a Royal Society Enterprise Fund-led syndicate.

To help boost further rapid, growth, the company is now seeking a series A VC investment of £4 million.

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Frank Craig, CEO at Sphere Fluidics Limited

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