Sphere Fluidics launches new site in South Cambridgeshire

BioTechniques News
Tristan Free

As the company doubles in size, a new site has been prepared for its expansion.

Last week, Sphere Fluidics launched their new state-of-the-art facility in Granta Park (Cambridge, UK) to house the company’s R&D, sales, marketing, finance, human resource and commercial teams, alongside their chemical manufacturing facilities. The new 30,000 sq. ft space will allow the entirety of the growing company to work from one location for the first time in 10 years.

The company started as a spin out from the University of Cambridge (UK) in 2010 to further develop and commercialize its novel picodroplet technology. This technology facilitates the capture of single cells in microscopic droplets of a single emulsion composed of an aqueous core, surrounded by an oil carrier fluid, which forms a shell. With one cell per picodroplet, each cell can be kept stable while preventing the leakage of cellular molecules, such as metabolites, essentially resulting in a miniature test tube that can be used for high-throughput single-cell studies.

This technology underlies both their industrial and research products. In the words of their CEO Dr. Frank Craig, who we caught up with at the event, the industrial products, “Serve as fully automated and fully integrated desktop systems, such as our Cyto-Mine®, which automates and combines the analysis, sorting, imaging and dispensing of single cells,” while their research products, “are semi-automated and semi-integrated, but are much more flexible and open, allowing them to be tuned and manipulated for a variety of research applications, such as the Pico-Mine®.”

The company has garnered considerable interest with this approach and is expanding rapidly to accommodate the demand. “A year ago we were just over 35 people,” revealed Craig, “this year we’re about 70, and we’re going to be about 110 shortly.” But more people need more space and, until the launch of this new site, they had all been working in three separate locations across Cambridge, presenting challenges for the company. “It’s amazing how, even within a small distance, people don’t communicate very well when separated.” remarked Craig.

Looking to the future now that they have moved into the new site, Craig reveals his excitement. “I’m thrilled that the team can now be fully productive, and we can develop a thorough sense of teamwork. With our brand new custom-built labs and offices, there’s no reason why we can’t become world-class and establish ourselves as a successful global company.”

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