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I-Lab Award for Multiscreen Project

On July 4, the i-Lab 2019 innovation contest named 75 winners, among them Aimee Wessel and Raphaël Tomasi from the Physical Microfluidics and Bioengineering Unit (Institut Pasteur / Ecole Polytechnique / CNRS) for their Multiscreen project.

Prix i-Lab pour le projet Multiscreen

The MultiScreen team from left to right: Raphaël Tomasi (co-inventor, in charge of technological development), Aimee Wessel (project leader, in charge of business development), Charles Baroud (co-inventor and head of the Physical Microfluidics and Bioengineering Unit) and Aude Durand (CB UTechS platform engineer in charge of the MultiScreen instrument.

Sponsored by the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation and organized in partnership with Bpifrance Financement, i-Lab is the largest deep-tech innovation competition in France. It supports promising businesses projects with a strong technological component by providing financial support (of up to 600,000 €) and guidance.

Using the award-winning MultiScreen technology, thousands of 3D cell cultures can be formed in microfluidic droplets from very small sample volumes. All the fluidic components are miniaturized by means of microchannels, the size of a strand of hair, which affords precision control over the position and the manipulation of cells. Thousands of complex biological protocols (co-culture, high-throughput screening, etc.) are performed on a microfluidic chip that fits into the palm of the hand.

Unlike conventional 2D cell culture, 3D culture reproduces the cell’s native environment more accurately in the laboratory, thereby yielding more predictive results. The aim of the MultiScreen project is to simplify the formation and manipulation of these high-throughput 3D cultures in order to better predict cell response to drugs, with potential applications in research, the pharmaceutical industry, and personalized medicine.

MultiScreen is based on a patented technology developed over the past five years by École Polytechnique and Institut Pasteur in Dr. Charles Baroud’s laboratory. The project, sponsored by Institut Carnot Pasteur MS and DIM ELICIT (“Empowering LIfe Sciences with Innovative Technologies” labelled one of the Domains of Main Interest – DIM – by the regional council of Île de France), proposes a robust and comprehensive 3D culture solution combining automation and high-throughput.

Currently in the maturation stage, the start-up will be created in 2020 thanks to i-Lab’s financial support and guidance. The MultiScreen offer involves the sale of an instrument, consumables (the microfluidic chips in which the 3D cell cultures are developed), and an image analysis solution yielding high-throughput quantitative results.