Innovating research, policy and education in synthetic and systems biology

Centre partners with Sphere Fluidics in £1 million award to develop Desktop Genome Editing Platform

Steve Pollard

The UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology is a partner on a newly awarded £1 million grant to UK company Sphere Fluidics to develop the world’s first automated single cell genome engineering platform.

Cambridge-based company Sphere Fluidics is a leader in technology for single cell analysis and has developed and sells commercially a single cell analysis and characterization system called Cyto-Mine® for the biopharmaceutical discovery and development market.

The aim of the funded project is to generate an automated, benchtop device for the creation of high-value, genome-edited cell lines. Professor Steve Pollard, a Centre investigator and CRUK Senior Fellow based at Edinburgh’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine, will focus on engineering various gene reporters into both pluripotent stem cells and more restricted brain stem cells. These technologies will also be explored for the delivery of synthetic transcription factors at single cell level to try and program and reprogram stem cell differentiation'.

Steve says: ‘We are excited to be part of this partnership, which brings our expertise in stem cell engineering to bear on the innovative microfluidics platform developed by Sphere Fluidics. The aims are perfectly aligned with those of our synthetic biology Centre, to help develop the tools and technologies that will help realise next generation regenerative medicine using synthetic biology approaches.”

Genome editing is rapidly becoming an essential tool across all areas of life sciences R&D (e.g. basic research, diagnostics, gene therapy and regenerative medicine, synthetic biology and bio-manufacturing).

The other partners on the project include Horizon Discovery (UK) and Twist Bioscience (USA), which bring translational genomics and gene synthesis expertise, respectively, to the partnership.

The grant was an Open Innovation Grant from Innovate UK which was open to companies in every industry in the UK.

Sphere Fluidics press release can be read in full here.