Cambridge, UK-based Sphere Fluidics, a company that develops products for use in single-cell analysis and characterisation, and provides associated collaborative R&D services, has raised $40M (approx €34.28M) in a fresh round of funding.
The round was led by Paris-based Sofinnova Partners and Redmile Group, both co-investing on equal terms.
Sofinnova Partners invests across the entire value chain of life sciences investments, from Seed to later-stage with a focus on healthcare and sustainability. Redmile Group is a California-based venture capital firm that makes venture, growth, and crossover investing in healthcare organisations.
With this deal, Sofinnova Partners’ Tom Burt and Redmile Group’s Rob Faulkner will join the Sphere Fluidics board.
About Sphere Fluidics
Founded in 2010 by Wilhelm Huck and led by CEO Frank F. Craig, Sphere Fluidics claims to be an established life sciences company, spun out from the University of Cambridge. The company’s aim is to develop technology that enables leading-edge research and accelerates biopharmaceutical discovery.
Sphere Fluidics does this by providing novel single-cell analysis systems for the rapid screening and characterisation of single cells. Its patented picodroplet technology is specifically designed to increase the chances of finding that rare molecule or cell that can lead to a life-changing medicine.
Tom Burt says, “We remain impressed by Sphere Fluidics’s product Cyto-Mine, which is high-throughput, ease-of-use, and is available at an accessible cost. In the growing markets of monoclonal antibody discovery, cell line development, and cell therapy, we see a significant need for such an affordable and reliable single-cell analysis system as Cyto-Mine, capable of performing multiple assays on tens of millions of individual cells per run.”
Sphere Fluidics initially focused on producing novel biochip systems and providing R&D services. However, it has now also extended its expertise and is developing a technology platform that enables discovery through single-cell analysis.
What is Cyto-Mine?
Currently, processes for finding novel antibody targets or developing stable cell lines are time-consuming and inefficient. Whether screening whole B cell repertoires, hybridomas, CHO, or other cells, approaches such as cell sorting, clone picking, or limiting dilutions have their drawbacks. And current existing approaches are suboptimal, costly, and require various individual steps that could lead to human error and contamination.
This is where Cyto-Mine steps in. The company claims this platform to be the new generation solution that allows to accelerate, automate and simplify antibody discovery and cell line development workflows.
The platform integrates single-cell screening, sorting, dispensing, imaging, and clone verification and has been purchased by an international customer base including global pharmaceutical companies, biotech, CDMOs, and leading research institutions.
The Cyto-Mine platform uses picodroplet technology and microfluidics to process up to 40 million heterogeneous mammalian cells (in pools) in less than a day. This helps in assessing and isolating rare or valuable cell variants or biological products, to simplify and improve throughput across antibody discovery, cell line development, and single-cell diagnostics.
Watch Cyto-Mine in action
The proceeds from this round will enable Sphere Fluidics to expand its international sales activities in key markets and to improve customer support.
The company will also expand its product research and development programs, including novel applications for its proprietary Cyto-Mine Single Cell Analysis System. The raised capital will support the ongoing commercialisation, broadening the technology’s adoption into research areas such as cell therapy, synthetic biology, and genome editing.