Collaboration between Sarcura and imec aims to develop a silicon photonics-based cytometry solution allowing real-time process control and manipulation of cells.
Sarcura GmbH, an Austrian early-stage technology startup, today announced that it has entered a collaboration with imec, a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies to develop a silicon chip-based prototype of a cytometer for automated cell separation bringing gene and cell therapy to the next level.
Transformative cell therapies, harnessing a patient’s own living immune cells to attack cancer, became a powerful new treatment to cure patients. But despite its unique potential, cell therapy manufacturing remains a challenge and bottleneck for the industry. In particular, the patient-specific nature of the therapies and the variations caused by the high diversity in the patient’s cells conflict with traditional and established generic biomanufacturing concepts at high volume.
Sarcura is developing an automated cell therapy manufacturing solution based on microfluidic systems to allow real-time quality and process control on cellular level. A special focus area of the collaboration with imec is the development of an integrated, silicon photonics cytometer for automated cell separation. “Due to the high variability of the patient’s individual cells, that are used as starting material for cell therapy, we see a huge need for novel real-time and inline process and quality control technologies. Controlling, as well as manipulating individual cells at manufacturing scale will open new opportunities for industrial cell processing,” says Daniela Buchmayr, CEO at Sarcura. “With imec we found a leading expert in silicon technologies and nanoelectronics, as well as a trusted partner sharing the same vision of cross industry innovation to tackle the manufacturing challenges in cell and gene therapy.”
Liesbet Lagae, life sciences R&D director and fellow at imec: "We are leveraging our leadership in chip technology to tackle unsolved challenges in life-science instrumentation. The use of silicon technology allows extreme miniaturisation, as well as microfluidic parallelisation and scalable photonic integration of optical cell measurements. We hence are able to build compact, yet high-throughput modules that can inspect every single cell and are scalable towards billions of cells. Our collaboration will pave the way to making highly potent cell and gene therapies affordable and accessible. To connect to the full ecosystem, imec is already partnering with cell therapy companies.”
Imec (imec-int.com) is a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, energy and education.
As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together more than 4,000 brilliant minds from almost 100 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, and offices in China, India and Japan. In 2019, imec's revenue (P&L) totaled 640 million euro.
Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a “stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Government of Flanders), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre and OnePlanet, supported by the Dutch Government), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.), imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.), imec India (Imec India Private Limited) and imec Florida (IMEC USA nanoelectronics design center).
Sarcura GmbH (sarcura.com) is an Austrian based early-stage technology company, developing an instrument platform for the GMP manufacturing of autologous cell therapies. Sarcura was founded in 2019 by an interdisciplinary team of scientific and industry experts. Our platform combines microfluidic processing with silicon chip technology to enable real time process control and manipulation on a cellular level supporting a fully automated manufacturing system.