Ten years of pushing the bounds of science
When we talk about Fluicell, we often use the phrase “pioneers in single-cell biology”. It is a label that we are very proud of, being part of one of the most important changes to biological research and drug discovery during the past and coming decade. But Fluicell is also so much more than that and this diversity is challenging to summarize in one sentence. What began as a research project aimed at creating a tool to allow scientist to study biological processes directly on a single-cell level is today a daring and ambitious company with five platform products, covering everything from single-cell biology and pharmacology to tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, and an in-house ATMP development program. As Fluicell turns 10 years today, now is a wonderful opportunity to look back on the journey that has taken Fluicell to what the company is today and to look towards the future ahead of us.
Fluicell initially started as Avalance Biotech in 2012, founded as spin-off company from Chalmers University of Technology by a trio consisting of Fluicell’s current CTO, Dr. Gavin Jeffries — who at the time was assistant professor at Chalmers — Professor Aldo Jesorka and Dr. Alar Ainla. The company sprung from an idea to meet a desire among life science and pharmaceutical research actors for new methods that could improve research results while at the same time reducing sample consumption.
The solution they came up with was a multifunctional pipette system, later baptized BioPen, a completely new type of microfluidic technology that enables researchers to precisely deliver chemical solutions directly to individual cells without taking them out of their native environment. This technology constitutes the foundation of the company and is unto this day an important part of what makes Fluicell unique and lets us continue to stay innovative, thanks to the patents which were filled at a very early stage.
I joined Fluicell as Chief operating officer in 2015. At that time, it was a vastly different company with only two employees, an interim CEO, but with a wish to push the company further. By 2017, I took over as CEO and since then, my ambition has always been to enable the company to grow in every aspect, based on the same innovative and truthful mindset upon which it was founded, and to build a daring an ambitious team, willing to take Fluicell to the next level. Throughout all this time, Fluicell has had the benefit of having a highly supportive board of directors, which has benefited the company’s journey forward.
An important part of developing the company throughout has been to continue to build a strong IP portfolio, both to protect our innovations and to facilitate new business opportunities, something that for instance has been a crucial driving force behind our current products development and signed agreements. We were granted our first patent in 2015 and today we have a total of ten approved patents, ten additional patents for which we gained right through the signing of a strategic exclusive license agreement signed in 2017 and several ongoing patent applications.
The journey towards the company that Fluicell is today really started when we decided, guided by Owe Orwar’s exceptional inventive mindset, to initiate the development of Biopixlar, our single-cell 3D bioprinting platform that is based on the same microfluidic principles that Fluicell was founded upon in 2012. Fluicell’s entry into the bioprinting sector was also linked with our IPO, which helped to facilitate the company’s growth and increasing ambition.
Since the launch in 2019, Biopixlar has been increasingly recognized as a technological frontrunner in the bioprinting sector with the capacity to address many of the limitations that are associated with conventional extrusion bioprinting. This year, we aim to build on this increased recognition to further boost the presence in the research sector through increased sales and though a focus on collaboration agreement with key opinion leaders within the field.
The continued growth of the Biopixlar brand is also to a considerable extent fueled by the Biopixlar AER launch on March 3 this year. The new bioprinting platform brings all the single-cell bioprinting power of the original Biopixlar, but in a smaller format, and is an engineering marvel from our development team. The new platform fits inside a standard biosafety cabinet, an important feature for many research applications in the biomedical sector and is a great complement to the original Biopixlar platform.
With the two Biopixlar systems together, we are able to bring single-cell bioprinting to almost any research environment, from the highly specialized academic laboratory prioritizing customizability to the pharmaceutical research laboratory that values the ability to create seamless and parallelizable laboratory workflows.
In addition to this, we are also continuously developing new applications and laboratory solutions to make the Biopixlar technology an even more complete solution for life science and biomedical research. These activities go hand-in-hand with our increased focus this year on providing researchers a range of high-quality consumables that complement our research platforms. We are currently putting the final details for this together and expect to present this initiative later this spring, so make sure to keep an eye out for that.
We know that we have something truly special in Biopixlar that give the platforms an immense potential to impact the bioprinting market in a tangible way. However, the instruments in themselves have never been an endpoint for us. Instead, the greatest value of the technology comes, not just through product sales, but also through our ability to use our technology and IP to create new applications and research services, and to fuel our own regenerative medicine product development. It is the combination of these three areas that make Fluicell unique among biotech and life science companies and that enables us to ensure income for the company short-term, while laying the ground for continued growth for yet another decade.
I know that many of you have been following and supporting the company since even before the IPO. I am incredibly happy to be able to share this important anniversary together with you and hope that you will accompany us for the many exciting things that await Fluicell in the future. The next decade will be about realizing the full potential that Fluicell has to offer, the releasing of tissue therapeutic products to help millions of people, being the greatest milestone which I believe we are capable to achieve.
Victoire Viannay. March 30, 2022
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