Cyto-Mine® reduces the cell line development process by 3 months, enabling researchers to make a new vaccine much faster
We are trying, like all of you, to do our best to support our customers and the wider community while navigating the impact coronavirus has on everyone. Researchers and scientists are at the front and centre of the response to this pandemic, doing direct work on coronavirus and disease therapies, and this is a particular effort to which we can contribute.
In this interview, we spoke with Frank Craig, CEO of Sphere Fluidics, to examine how the Cyto-Mine® Single Cell Analysis Platform can be used to fast-track the development of COVID-19 vaccines, how this method can be used in diagnosis, and what is being done to adapt our focus to help address the outbreak.
How can researchers use Cyto-Mine® to fast-track the development of potential vaccines for COVID-19?
Cyto-Mine® helps researchers in two key areas of vaccine development: candidate antibody discovery and vaccine cell line development. To accelerate candidate antibody discovery, we can screen up to 40 million immune cells per day, that have been isolated from a mouse previously immunised with coronavirus. We can then find those cells secreting the best antibodies that bind to the target coronavirus antigen. We have proven that during cell line development, we can take about 3 months off the cell line development process, which, in turn, enables researchers to make a new vaccine much faster.
Could Cyto-Mine® be used in the diagnosis of COVID 19?
Cyto-Mine® could be used to develop an antibody that could be used to make a medical diagnostic kit for the rapid detection of coronavirus. The kit could be produced in a dipstick format which would be inexpensive and easy to manufacture. We would not need Cyto-Mine® to detect this strip as such a kit could be colorimetric and viewed with the human eye, providing this simple, straightforward point-of-care diagnostic.
What can Sphere Fluidics do to help with the effort against COVID19?
We can provide Cyto-Mine® technology and related assay development support to companies or researchers wishing to develop medical diagnostics, tools or vaccines. Within the company, we are also currently reviewing European grants and potential collaborations with complementary biopharma/vaccine SMEs to mobilise any assays for the detection of COVID 19.
Going forward, what does the industry need to be more equipped at developing vaccines in short timeframes and accelerate speed-to-clinic?
The biopharmaceutical industry needs faster antibody discovery technology, improved cell line development processes and improved methods to select model cell lines for scale-up in production.
To begin to achieve this, companies can leverage robust microfluidic platforms capable of high-throughput characterization and isolation of single cells, as a powerful solution to accelerate the research and development and manufacture of vaccines.