Partnering opportunity

Single cell analysis systems for biotherapeutic and medical diagnostic discovery and development


An East of England company is developing single cell analysis systems for biotherapeutic discovery and development. The ultra-high-throughput biochip systems can process tens of millions of miniaturised tests per day and find that rare “one in a billion” cell that could be an industry blockbuster. Also, the system has a small footprint. Developers of biopharmaceuticals or new medical diagnostics are sought for license, technical or research cooperation agreements.

Partner sought

- Type of partner sought: biopharmaceutical or medical diagnostic industry. - Specific area of activity of the partner: developers of biopharmaceuticals or new medical diagnostics. - Task to be performed: the partners are likely to have research programmes that not just benefit from the platform but condition further development. As the aspects are several, IP, technical and commerce, a route forward will be flexible around the circumstances. The partners are expected to return with non-confidential description of their research programmes and early ideas where the complementation lies with this technology platform.


An established life sciences tools company based near Cambridge (UK) provides unique collaborative services and products for single cell and molecule analysis and characterisation. The company has patented novel, biochip systems that automatically process tens of millions of miniaturised tests in picodroplets (i.e. small compartments of a picolitre volume). The company is now developing a technology platform that can find that rare “one in a billion” molecule or cell that could be an industry blockbuster. The platform enables the discovery and development of new biopharmaceuticals, enzymes and high production cell lines. The system will be fully-automated and can be integrated into various antibody discovery, development or production workflows and works with primary cells as well as immortalised cell lines. The company is also developing a miniaturised platform for high-throughput mass spectrometry (MS) – also based on novel biochips that use picodroplets. This provides significantly reduced costs (tests are done at 1,400-fold lower volumes) and 20-fold faster screening rates. This unleashes productivity in the bioprocessing and synthetic biology areas as scientists can now perform previously unaffordable experiments and thus find the best enzymes or cell strains. The company has established a significant international network of R&D collaborations but as the new platforms get launched, there is scope for many more. The domains of application may include but are not limited to: Biopharmaceutical discovery and development; Single cell diagnostics and prognostics; Bioprocessing (synthetic biology); Single cell diseases such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The company is pretty open about types of collaboration, for example licensing, technical cooperation, and research cooperation. Upon exchanging technical detail, it is likely that the existing hardware and software need to be adapted. Dependent on the partner's research programme, there may be scope for new product development. The parties can pool resources to create new IP or know-how, and potentially business. A suitable route will be negotiated case by case.

Advantages and innovations

The patented system offers these main advantages: • Automated and integrated single cell analysis systems; • Generic system launched and bespoke systems under development; • High-throughput analysis.

Development stage

Already on the market

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Patents granted

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