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GEN News Highlights : Dec 12, 2011

Cytoo, Cenix Get €4M to Exploit Substrate Micropatterning for RNAi Screening

Aim is to increase utility of cell-based HTS by normalizing cell behavior and architecture.

The EC has earmarked €4 million in funding over three years to a research consortium established by Cytoo, Cenix Bioscience, and three European academic partners, to push the limits of high-throughput cell-based screening platforms. The Mehtrics consortium aims to combine high-throughput applications of Cenix’ RNAi screening technologies and expertise, with Cytoo’s technology for normalizing cultured cells’ behavior by growing them on adhesive micropatterned substrates. The consortium will be headed by Cytoo, and the three-year funding has been provided through the EC’s Seventh Framework Program.

The partners say initial applications of the technology have already demonstrated its potential for enhancing the quality of existing high-content analyses by reducing the phenotypic viability of cell populations, which results in much lower cell sampling requirements. The initial aims of the program will be to optimize micropattern geometries and compositions to accommodate extended timelines typical of siRNA assays, along with integrating Transfected Cell Array technique to decrease cost and increase throughput, and developing cell models of key diseases based on micropatterned adult stem cells and polarized epithelia/endothelial architectures. The partners plan to validate each stage using key industry-relevant siRNA screening applications. 

France-based Cytoo has developed a technology for growing cells on precisely micropatterned surfaces, to control their microenvironment and normalize cell morphology and behavior. The firm is using the cell adhesive micropatterning technology to generate a range of products, including chips, screening plates, and products for use in image analysis. The firm closed a  $10 round of Series C financing just last month.