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Sphere Fluidics, Geneva Biotech Receive €1.6M Grant to Develop DNA Cargo Delivery System

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Cambridge, UK-based Sphere Fluidics and EMBL spin-out company Geneva Biotech said today they have received a €1.6 million ($1.9 million) grant from Eurostars to develop large DNA cargo gene delivery and genome engineering systems.

While gene editing technologies can effectively create small local gene modification, they are lacking in tools to dock complex multigene circuits into defined genomic sites. The companies said they will adapt Sphere Fluidics' Cyto-Mine Single Cell Analysis System to create an automated, benchtop device for precise docking of very large DNA cargoes in genome-edited cell lines.

The Cyto-Mine instrument can be used for single-cell analysis, sorting, imaging, and dispensing into individual wells of microtitre plates, Sphere said. It uses picodroplet technology and microfluidics to enable processing of up to 10 million heterogeneous mammalian cells in less than half a day.

"Geneva Biotech has a long-term vision to create viral vector tools that enable large DNA cargo delivery and genome engineering in primary cells that have proven refractory to traditional transfection, electroporation, or transduction methods," Geneva Biotech CEO Daniel Fitzgerald said in a statement. "The Eurostars collaboration with Sphere Fluidics forms a key part of our strategy to improve our position in this field with significant therapeutic and industrial importance."

Sphere CEO Frank Craig also noted that this project will advance the firm's plans to adapt the use of Cyto-Mine for genome editing applications. Sphere won a $1.25 million grant from InnovateUK in July to adapt Cyto-Mine technology for genome editing applications.