Running 10 000 experiments in parallel

Having successfully spun out of The University of Queensland in 2016, US-based Scaled Biolabs has begun unlocking new cell therapies using its miniaturised cell culture lab that runs nearly 10,000 experiments in parallel.

Scaled Biolabs CEO Drew Titmarsh holds one of the startup’s microfluidic chips produced at ANFF Q. Credit: Scaled Biolabs.

The company’s device is now being used by industrial customers in the cell therapy and immuno-oncology sectors, enabling the rapid development of medical treatments.

Within the device, high-density arrays of wells are seeded with cells and then dosed with various concentrations of factors. The results can then be easily scanned and interpreted giving vastly more data than conventional assays, meaning manual experimentation can be vastly accelerated. The chips also provide the benefit of conducting experiments under flow conditions, which gives better insight into the natural cellular processes at play.

Because of the huge number of simultaneous experiments the technology conducts, researchers are able to screen varying parameters, such as drug compounds and concentrations, all at the same time.

Scaled Biolabs’ platform also requires at least 10 times less test material than conventional systems, and processes it at a much faster rate. This helps to reduce cost and bring new treatments to market in a fraction of the time it takes conventionally.

The platform has been supported throughout its entire journey by ANFF-Q, from the initial concept through to the point where the company is providing devices to be used on client samples. Mask writing, photolithography, optical surface profiling, soft lithography, 3D printing, and confocal microscopy capabilities were all used throughout the research phase of these devices.

The company is continuing its work with ANFF-Q to automate its technology and to add computational support.