BiologIC Technologies, an Innovate UK-backed biotech company and inventor of the world’s first biocomputer, has made a groundbreaking biocomputer breakthrough that is speeding up the development and production of less expensive drugs and vaccines.
BiologIC was able to access the expertise and advanced equipment of the National Measurement Laboratory (NML) hosted at LGC thanks to Analysis for Innovators (A4I), a grant funding programme run by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.
As a result, the Cambridge-based company has made significant progress in understanding how the plastic materials used in 3D printing the chips interact with biological applications.
“Without access to the high-end analytics, and, more critically, the world class expertise at NML made possible through the A4I funding, it would likely have taken us several years to achieve the same insights.– Dr. Colin Barker, Chief Scientific Officer at BiologIC Technologies
Dr. Colin Barker added, “We’ve already taken the learning we’ve gained from the grant and applied it in real time. We have several active projects, where we have directly applied our new knowledge to improve customer outcomes. This grant directly led to an increase in our understanding, which has had an immediate impact, and greater commercial success.”
Biologic Technologies Biocomputer platform
BiologIC Technologies has created 3D printed ‘lab-on-a-chip’ platforms, which are miniaturised devices that combine multiple laboratory functions onto a single chip. These allow for faster, more efficient, and cost-effective biological sample analysis, with applications ranging from drug testing to point-of-care diagnostics.
Without any post-processing, 3D printed materials simply do not support reproducible biology. To help its customers develop and manufacture high-quality biological products, BiologIC needed to first understand the chemical interactions between 3D printed materials and biological samples.
Dr. Barker explained, “By the nature of them being 3D printable materials, they’re very reactive. And so, part of Biologic’s proprietary know-how is how to take those materials and treat them to make them biocompatible. But that’s a very complex, very slow process.”
It can now demonstrate greater biocompatibility and stability of its 3D printed ‘lab-on-a-chip’ platform, which means pharmaceutical manufacturers and Contract, Design, and Manufacturing Organisations (CDMOs) can now accelerate the work required before developing minimum viable products, resulting in faster time-to-market and cheaper drugs and vaccines.
BiologIC platform is already generating value
At customer sites, the BiologIC platform is already providing value to advanced developers. The BiologIC team collaborates closely with customers to develop custom platform configurations that address customer challenges such as increasing yield, process robustness, and scale.
“Our customers are trying to produce advanced biology products at scale with robust reproducibility,” Barker added. “The greater understanding of our materials through the A4I grant allows us to standardise and streamline our production methodologies, delivering reproducible results at a lower cost.
“Personalised medicines by their nature don’t have economies of scale, and price tags can run into millions of pounds per patient. The BiologIC platform provides the paradigm shift in automation technologies required to enable disruptive economics and democratise access to these new therapies.”
“The transformation of BiologIC is yet another success story generated by A4I. It is an effective demonstration of how we empower companies to boost their productivity and their competitiveness by solving difficult technical analysis-type problems that maybe they’ve been battling with for some time. And we introduce them to some unique partner organisations, like NML, who have world class skills and unique facilities. That allows them to look at problems in a new way, and then help solve them.”– Simon Yarwood, Knowledge Transfer Manager – Industrial Technologies, A4I at Innovate UK KTN
A4I has been in operation since 2016 and brings together nine national measurement centres of excellence to address challenges affecting existing processes, products, or services. It has supported over 250 companies across nine rounds of funding, resulting in over £600 million in benefits for those businesses, such as increased productivity and turnover, reduced waste, and the creation of new and upskilled jobs.
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