Our Investment in Next-Generation Digital Tools for Drug Discovery, and Single Cell Sorting

By Brent MacDonald – Principal @ Rising Tide VC

Despite cheap, abundant genetics tools and information, many aspects of healthcare research remain constrained and complex. For example, while the cost of DNA sequencing has declined dramatically, innovations in personalized medicine, drug research, and early-stage pharmaceutical discovery and development have not kept up due to constraints in sample preparation, throughput and high-quality data analysis.

Bioelectronica® has developed Hypercell®, a versatile high throughput platform, powered by patent-pending lensless imaging and Computer Vision Single Cell Sorting (CVSCS) to address these limitations. Amongst other applications, biopharma researchers can now increase their odds of discovering rare antibodies, improve their workflow efficiencies, reduce costs, and faster identify drug candidates faster. Bioelectronica’s Hypercell® platform enables cell line researchers to identify and sort single live cells that secrete the highest amounts of protein of interest, or antibodies that bind to a target of interest, from pools of tens of millions of cells. Unlike other tools, Hypercell® can analyze and sort, based on single cell secretion rates, >500,000 single cells and screen plasma B cells in less than 2 days. This is unprecedented in the field and is fundamentally enabling to researchers and is expected to accelerate the development and manufacture of new therapies.

In January 2020, the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening selected Bioelectronica’s Hypercell® technology platform as the most innovative new product from around the globe that is “going above and beyond in their advancements of life sciences technologies.

Bioelectronica developed Hypercell® to solve fundamental throughput limitations in healthcare and biotechnology research. The platform’s value is immediately apparent in its antibody discovery product launch, which solves two very difficult problems for pharmaceutical and antibody researchers: recover high-producing single cells quickly and reliably from low or non-secretors using a business model that is accessible to the entire industry. Key advantages over others in the industry include unprecedented throughput from its proprietary electrofluidic chips, scalability, high throughput, and high recovery rates. Through a combination of multiple proprietary innovations, Hypercell® takes emulsion-based single-cell assays to the next level. With Bioelectronica’s Polydisperse Oblate Dispersion System (PODS) technology, millions of cells can be encapsulated in picolitre-volume chambers in minutes, where secretions are contained and amplified during incubation, with optimized cell viability and proliferation post recovery. Hypercell® is well suited for ultra-high throughput applications such as cell line development in immunology and vaccine development. The Hypercell® platform can be parallelized to scale-up experiments and dramatically increase lab productivity, throughput and efficiencies.

Why We Are Excited:

Bioelectronica’s value proposition and potential is three-fold. First is technical innovation: the shift to electrofluidics from microfluidics, and to lensless computer vision rather fluorescence and lens-based systems. This is a paradigm shift that allows the technology to scale system throughput and enable new markets. Second, democratization: the system architecture allows a cost-structure that is accessible and enabling to new users that previously could not access single cell tools. This will allow inclusion of market participants previously barred due to cost and expertise. Finally, product pipeline: Bioelectronica’s platform can be expanded to cutting edge areas including sequencing sample preparation, synthetic biology and T-cell therapies. We look forward to seeing the next generation of researchers and products that this platform enables.