TTP creates company for new cell sorting technology


The spinout will receive US$ 2.2 million to commercialise the Vortex-Actuated Cell Sorting (VACS) technology and fast-track the resulting product

A new spin out has been founded to commercialise TTP’s proprietary Vortex-Actuated Cell Sorting (VACS) technology, and fast-track development of a first commercial product, Highway 1.

The independent technology and product development company has formed the new company, named Cellular Highways.

TTP has invested £1.7million (US$2.2m) in the spinout, in addition to over £2m development funding to date. Highway 1 will be unveiled at the 34th Congress of the International Society for Advancement of Cytometry (CYTO), in Vancouver, in June 2019.

The technology

The VACS technology has the potential to enable new cell therapies, liquid biopsy diagnostics, and high-throughput drug discovery applications.

It is the first cell sorting technology with the demonstrated core performance to translate research to the clinic, enabling high-throughput cell sorting that is sterile, free of cross-contamination, and scalable to therapeutically relevant batches of cells.

VACS provides an enclosed, sterile cell sorting chip, where cells can be typed according to molecular markers, and sorted into separate outputs.

Importantly, the technology is multiplexable, enabling scaling up to large batches of cells (upwards of around a billion) at high speed, to support the development of cell therapies and diagnostics.

To fulfil the potential of the VACS platform, Cellular Highways will develop a new generation of automated high-throughput cell sorting instruments for research, diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

The product

A team at TTP, led by Dr Salman Samson Rogers, has been developing the VACS technology over the past two years and has now been appointed as CEO of Cellular Highways.

Rogers said: “Our mission is to make better cell sorting accessible to every laboratory, and to enable therapeutic and diagnostic cell sorting applications that are ill-served by incumbent products. Powered by VACS technology, our instruments will reduce the cost and complexity of cell sorting and will be easy to operate..”

Highway 1, Cellular Highways’ first commercial product, has been designed to provide “an aseptic cell sorter for every lab”. Input and output fluids are entirely contained in sterile sort microfluidic cartridges, which house the inertial sorter chip. This is to eliminate risks associated with biohazardous aerosols, and cross-contamination.

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Cellular Highways will be based at TTP’s Melbourn Science Park headquarters.