Plasticell and Sphere Fluidics join forces to develop gene transduction technology

The collaboration aims to develop safer and more efficient gene therapies

Plasticell, a biotechnology company using cell culture technologies for optimisation of cell and gene therapy manufacturing, has signed a collaboration agreement with Cambridge, UK-based Sphere Fluidics, a company specialising in single cell encapsulation and screening.

The two firms aim to combine their technologies to develop gene transduction systems with improved efficiency, safety and cost savings.

Plasticell has used its Combinatorial Cell Culture (CombiCult) platform to develop inexpensive, high-efficiency gene transduction protocols as alternatives to costly commercial transfection reagents currently used in gene therapy trials. Sphere Fluidics has developed high throughput single cell manipulation and screening technology in picolitre volumes.

'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, Plasticell’s CSO. 'The efficiency, safety and cost of this process need to be optimised to ensure therapeutic efficacy, to mitigate potential adverse events such as insertional mutagenesis and to improve the cost-effectiveness of gene therapies.'

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

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